ABC’s cast for the upcoming limited dramatic series When We Rise has been partially finalized, and it’s a star-studded roster indeed. Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, Angels in America), Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential), and Rachel Griffiths (Brothers and Sisters, Six Feet Under) have all signed on for leading roles.
Penned by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk), When We Rise, The Hollywood Reporter notes, “chronicles the personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. civil rights movement, from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once-unfathomable successes of today.”
Many working on this series were involved with the Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, most notably Black, who wrote the screenplay. Bruce Cohen, one of the co-executive producers for this endeavor also produced the film on the late LGBT rights activist. Finally, Gus Van Sant, who was nominated for an Academy Award in directing for Milk, “will helm the two-hours series premiere of the seven-episode limited series.”
Pearce will helm the cast as the LGBT activist Cleve Jones, while Parker “is set as women’s rights leader Roma Guy.” Griffiths will depict Guy’s wife Diane, also a social justice activist. Still to be cast are the roles of Ken Jones, an African American movement organizer, and Cecilia Chung, a transgender activist.
Black has voiced his enthusiasm for this project, as well as his excitement that such prominent figures in the acting world are participating in it.
“It’s been the honor of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity, and equality,” Black tells The Hollywood Reporter. “To have collaborators of this caliber sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all.”