Greekness Counter: Milk (2008)

This is a new series of articles that aim to review the Greek American Roles in popular American cinema. Early in his career, Milk (Sean Penn) has a political debate with Art Agnos (Jeff Koons).

Producer: Focus Features
Director: Gus Van Zant
Script: Dustin Lance Black
Cast: Sean Penn, Jeff Koons

Greeknes Counter: **

Synopsis: This biopic explores the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly homosexual politician to be elected to office in San Francisco. Milk was subsequently murdered by a homophobic fellow politician. Early in his career, Milk (Sean Penn) has a political debate with Art Agnos (Jeff Koons). Agnos expresses no animus whatever to Milk’s sexual orientation, and after their debate, he tells Milk that he will never win until he begins to tell people what he is for as fervently as what he is against. Milk will take this advice to heart and make it central to his future (successful) political campaigns. The film never notes that Agnos is Greek, Audiences would only know so because of his name. The real-life Agnos eventually served as mayor of San Francisco (1988-1992).

This article is an excerpt of “The Greek American Image in American Cinema” project conducted by Dan Gergakas and Vassili Lambropoulos


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