Guy Pearce

Australian actors Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths are set to star in a 1970s-era gay rights mini-series penned by Dustin Lance Black.

The mini-series, called When We Rise, will focus on a group of families fighting for gay rights in America.


Dustin Lance Black is best known for the 2008 biopic Milk, starring Sean Penn as gay rights activist Harvey Milk and for which Dustin won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

“It’s been the honour of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years,” Dustin said.

Guy Pearce & Rachel Griffith“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.”

Variety reports Pearce will play LGBT activist Cleve Jones, who was part of the 1972 ‘gay liberation movement’ and also founded the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Cleve Jones was also friends with Harvey Milk.

Rachel Griffiths will play social justice activist and HIV/AIDS nurse Diane. Mary-Louise Parker will play Diane’s wife and women’s rights leader Roma Guy.

Gus Van Sant, who worked with Dustin Lance Black on Milk, will direct the seven episode mini-series’ two-hour premiere.