Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind...
Diego Luna Talks Milk
11-26-08 Windy City Times Interview
by Richard Knight, Jr.
Luna as Jack, Harvey Milk's emotionally unbalanced lover in Milk
Milk star Diego Luna who plays Harvey Milk’s emotionally conflicted lover Jack in the movie discussed the film with Windy City Times.
Q: Is the story better served by a director who is openly gay and whether any of the characters are disserved being played by actors
who are not gay?
DL: It makes a difference when we talk about the director. The director has been working with the story for years and dreaming
about it every night. It needs to matter a lot to a director. I believe that with a director like Gus he defends his point of view a lot.
He’s a guy who has really clear objectives when he’s shooting a film. He knows what he wants and the kind of questions he wants to
raise. I do believe it was important in this case. With the actors, I don’t think so. Acting is the opposite thing. You’re getting into a
new universe for a few months. If it’s very different from your own context and where you come from, it makes it richer in a way.
You’re also willing to really go deep.
Q: I want to ask about your character. Was it so hard to be that emotionally distraught every day on the set? He’s really bi-polar.
DL: Yeah, he is but I wanted to find the happiness of the character in a way because he needed to have something for Harvey to
like. There was something happening when they were together that was magic, obviously because Harvey was a very interesting
man. Harvey was a very fun guy to be around with so there had to be something about Jack that was special. In my research I was
talking to someone and this guy said to me, “You know one day I was walking next to the house and I heard them having sex and
it was the loudest sex I’ve ever heard and there was a loud of laughs and shouts and spanking and it was like Harvey wasn’t
Harvey. The sounds were not Harvey” and I understood there was something about that relation that was really special and that it
was simple and just instinct, pure instinct.
It was nothing about politics or the movement that mattered. It was about cooking dinner, receiving him, dancing for him. I love
that scene where he comes and he broke the door and he broke the door because he wants to cook dinner for him and dance for
him and then he would probably like to have sex and then he can go anywhere he has to. “Just give me 10 minutes,” he says, “It
will be the best 10 minutes you’ll get in your day” and I’m sure they were and that’s why he came back and came back. But at the
same time, he was a very lonely person, a very sad character and it was never going to be enough for him. It wasn’t Harvey’s fault
or anyone. He was just a guy that was tough to please because he needed so much attention.
Q: Was there anything you learned about Jack that didn’t make it into the movie?
DL: I decided to just work with what was in the film because it’s a real character.
Q: Can you talk about working with Sean?
DL: Who’s Sean? (laughs) I have to say the guy I met on the set the first day was a different guy. The way he became Harvey
Milk was amazing. Not just physically but you know Harvey was a very happy person, the kind of guy that was able to turn negative
energy and positive energy. He was the kind of guy that if the news was that you lost the elections he would hear there were people
voting for you this morning and Sean did have a lot of that energy in his eyes. It was a different Sean than any other film I’ve seen
him in and as an actor he’s a guy that understands acting is sharing and that makes everything easy. It’s a guy that’s searching for
your eyes, looking for the exchange. It wants to see what’s happening to you and react to that. When someone is that good and
when someone has achieved so much they don’t have to pretend at all.
Q: Who was the better kisser? Sean Penn or Gael Garcia Bernal (his co-star in Y tu mamá también)
DL: I have to say that in both I was paid for, so…I cannot say. I cannot tell.
Check the Archives for other Milk Interviews with cast members and historical consultant Cleve Jones