Castro To Get ’70s Makeover
For Harvey Milk Biopic

This is totally worth a trip to San Francisco. From Matthew S. Bajko in the Bay Area Reporter:

The Castro is set to receive a makeover next month – Hollywood style – as the creative team behind the biopic on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in the U.S., recasts the gay neighborhood back to its 1970s glory days.

Longtime denizens are likely to find some old haunts return to Castro Street, like the fabled Toad Hall bar – now part of Walgreens – and Milk’s old camera shop – now the home of gift store Given – as the filmmakers recreate the streetscape from the days when Milk reigned over the area as the “mayor” of Castro Street.

“We want to dress this neighborhood the best we can like the 1970s,” said Jonathan Shedd, the film’s location manager. “We hope to create a feel that works.”

Cars from the era will be parked on the streets. Awnings and street signs of businesses postdating that time will be changed. Even the Castro Theatre will be swept up by the time warp.

The movie-house’s marquee, damaged by a Muni bus that ran into it while PG&E crews were doing work out front this fall, will be repaired next month and repainted to match the color palette it sported four decades ago. In addition to the settlement they receive from Muni – expected to be finalized in early January – the theater owners plan to spend upwards of $12,000 on the project.

It is all part of the realism the producing team behind the film is striving for as they bring Milk’s life to the big screen. The movie, so far titled Milk, will star Bay Area resident Sean Penn as Milk, who forever changed the city and electrified its nascent gay rights movement when he hit town in 1972.

The film, directed by openly gay, Oscar-nominated Gus Van Sant, will depict Milk’s rise from political agitator to successful candidate in the 1977 supervisor race and end with his assassination inside his City Hall office a year later.

(The photo above is of 1970’s Castro landmark bar The Elephant Walk. I found the pic on Uncle Donald’s Castro Street, which hosts an amazing archive of photos and advertising from San Francisco’s gay bars and parades. The Elephant Walk was trashed by SF police the day after the White Night riots.)