The Lesbian in “Milk”: Alison Pill as Anne Kronenberg

 
 

"He wanted to get it right and I believe he did," Kronenberg
said.

"Gus welcomed us on the set, and when we were there was always asking,
‘Is this the way it happened? ‘ And he would
change things when we said something wasn’t right. For instance, when I said, ‘Wait,
women were marching behind him in the Gay Freedom Day Parade,’ Gus put out a
call, ‘All of Anne’s posse, come on down,’ so that there’d be women there. It
was amazing, and I was consulted a lot."

Anne in Harvey’s campaign headquarters (his camera store) in 1978

Van Sant chatted with AfterEllen.com for a few minutes the
day after Milk premiered in San
Francisco.

He said that in the middle of shooting, activist and former Milk
political protégé Cleve Jones (played in the film by Emile Hirsch) told him
about one incident involving Anne and her "posse" that he thought
should be in the film.

Alison Pill
as Anne Kronenberg; Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones

There were three gay men running for the seat Milk ended up
winning, and one of them, Rick Stokes, was known as being pretty uptight, Jones
told Van Sant. Right after being hired as Milk’s campaign manager, Anne brought
her dyke posse to a Stokes campaign event, where she and the other women
started handing out "Milk" signs to the women filing into the room.

In the Milk
shooting script, Stokes responds to Anne’s presence with outrage. "Young
lady," he fusses at her, "You must be confused. This is my night, not Mr. Milk’s."

Anne introduces herself as Harvey’s campaign manager, and Stokes replies,
"Then you should know this race is for District 5, the Castro, not for all
of your lesbian… compadres."

A tough-looking woman grabs Anne and kisses her, and Anne
tells him, "I’m sorry. Are we distracting you, Mr. Stokes? I’d hate to
screw you up on your big night."

Stokes orders the women to leave, saying they’re not from
the district, and another Milk supporter corrects him. "Not true. Guess
where we found them all, Rick? A slew of them, way up on Valencia St.
Living right there in our district. And you see, as it turns out, Annie here is
very, very popular with the
ladies."

Pill said she loved the scene, saying that Stokes was always
trying to "keep it comfortable with straight folks. Like you can be gay,
but not too gay. And Harvey would always preach
the exact opposite."

She also praised Cleve Jones for always being the one ready
to say, “We need more ladies.”

"He always did," Van Sant agreed. "I just
wish in this case he’d have said it a little sooner. I’d have liked to make
that scene work in the film, but it was already…" He paused as if
searching for a word.

"Epic?" I offered.

He just smiled. "There’s a lot of story."

Still, it’s clear he regrets not finding a way to use the
scene. "It’s part of the story that his alliance with the lesbian
community gained him votes," he said. "It was partly through Anne and
partly through other advances into the community and connections…. There are a
lot of things in the film that are absent, and that story is one of them."

He added that even though the scene isn’t in the final cut
of the film, he expected it to be included as an extra on the DVD when it’s
released.

Pill was disappointed the scene didn’t make it into the
final cut, and about something else, too. "I thought there was going to be
a full on make out scene," she told me. "There was just a little
kiss."

Even without that bit of guerilla campaigning, however, Pill
makes an impact in a film loaded with powerful performances. Because it’s in
the trailer and is bright, funny, and important, the scene where Harvey introduces her to
his friends and supporters is probably the one that most people will be talking
about.

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