"Milk" Director's Next Project: Prop. 8

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Dustin Lance Black, who snagged an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay by writing "Milk" starring Sean Penn,  has turned his talent to Prop. 8, using courtroom transcripts and interviews to create a Broadway-bound play called "8."

And befitting Black's reputation, 8 has attracted several luminaries from television and film -- including Sir Morgan Freeman, hunky Cheyenne Jackson ("Glee" and "30 Rock") and Marisa "My Cousin Vinny" Tomei. Tony-Award-winner Joe Mantello will direct.

They and the rest of the cast will be at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in NYC September 19th for a one-night reading -- a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER).

It's an artistic echo of Prop 8: The Musical starring Jack Black as Jesus.  There was also a much, much more earnest (and not at all funny or entertaining) verbatim re-enactment of the Prop. 8 trial, based on actual court transcripts.

You may recall the trial was set to be televised live until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in as the trial was getting underway to pull the plug. Except, the plug wasn't pulled -- and over objections of Prop. 8 backers courtroom cameras recorded the entire trial.

After retired Judge Vaughn Walker used an excerpt of the tapes in a college lecture that aired on C-Span, Prop. 8 proponents sued to force Walker (and everyone else who has copies) to turn over the tapes.

Prop. 8 opponents filed a cross motion, asking federal Judge James Ware to lift the protective order and release the tapes -- arguing legal attacks on Judge Walker's integrity (Ware rejected efforts to have Walker's Prop 8 decision overturned because Walker is gay).

Oral arguments on that motion will be heard August 29th in San Francisco.

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