“It was almost a political statement not to have gone to that film,” he said.
Dustin Lance Black, who wrote “Milk,” about gay rights leader Harvey Milk, said that he and director Gus Van Sant had wanted the film to come out before the election in 2008, and perhaps influence the debate surrounding California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state.
Instead, “Milk” came out just after the election. But, Black notes now, “It served as something I never expected it to. It served as a refocusing and education tool for the younger generation, to start fighting this struggle differently. . . . A lot of individuals and certain organizations took a moment and looked back to Milk’s era to examine why he was winning in a more homophobic time. We started to correct some of the missteps we were making in the ’90s, and I think ‘Milk’ was a piece of that.”
As for films currently in the pipeline, it’s an open question what impact this week’s election will have on their resonance with audiences.
In the case of the Secret Service thriller “White House Down,” which stars Jamie Foxx as a fictional president and is scheduled to come out in June, “I personally don’t think it’s going to matter,” says producer Brad Fischer. “Whether Obama or Romney wins, I think the same people are going to show up and see our movie and hopefully have a really great time, regardless of who’s in the White House.”
But director Lee Daniels is watching the election results with more anxiety. His film “The Butler,” which dramatizes the story of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen, comes out next year. The film — based on an article by Washington Post staff writer Wil Haygood — ends with the main character, an African American who has served eight presidents, seeing Obama in the White House.
If Obama wins, Daniels says simply, “We’ll feel the butler’s journey was worth it.” If Obama loses, Daniels predicts, “the movie will land completely differently. There will be a bittersweetness and a sadness about his journey. And I think the audience will feel it.”