Hirsch, Franco, Brolin got 'Milk'

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Related story: 'Milk' is in Focus for Jan. start

Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch and James Franco are in final negotiations to appear opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's biopic "Milk."

The Focus Features/Groundswell Prods. film stars Penn as Harvey Milk, the country's first openly gay elected official, a San Francisco city supervisor who was assassinated in 1978.

Brolin will play Dan White, the rival politician and supervisor who shot Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone to death at City Hall. Hirsch has been cast as gay rights activist Cleve Jones, an intern and close ally of Milk's, who went on to found the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Franco will play Scott Smith, Milk's lover and campaign manager.

Focus is co-financing "Milk" with Michael London's Groundswell and will distribute it worldwide. Principal photography is set to begin in January in San Francisco. London, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are producing from Dustin Lance Black's screenplay.

Brolin is onscreen in "No Country for Old Men" and also appears in "American Gangster." He is repped by WMA.

Hirsch earned a Gotham Award nomination and will receive a breakthrough performance award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for his performance in "Into the Wild," which Penn directed. He is repped by UTA, the Collective and attorney Robert Offer.

Franco, repped by Endeavor, co-starred in "Spider-Man 3" and "In the Valley of Elah."

Gregg Goldstein reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.
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