By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com March 01 2012 3:05 PM ET
Just when you thought Brad Pitt couldn’t get any cooler, the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact announced that the award-winning actor will join the cast of the West Coast premiere reading of the Proposition 8 play, 8, which will be live-streamed via YouTube this Saturday, beginning at 7:45 p.m. Pacific. The production’s director, Rob Reiner, made the announcement via video, saying that proponents of Prop. 8 have been trying to hide what happened in those courtrooms, but this production exposes all the proceedings.
The staged reading is an unprecedented account of the U.S. district court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the suit filed by AFER to overturn Prop. 8, which stripped same-sex couples in California of the fundamental freedom to marry.
Brad Pitt will star as Judge Vaughn R. Walker, the man who found Prop. 8 unconstitutional, joining an already star-studded cast that includes George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly, Chris Colfer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Cleve Jones, George Takei, The Simpsons’ Yeardley Smith, and many more. The same-sex couples at the heart of the piece will be played by Christine Lahti and Jamie Lee Curtis (who will star as plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a lesbian couple together for 11 years and the parents of four boys) and Glee’s Matthew Morrison and White Collar’s Matt Bomer (who will play plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a gay couple together over 10 years).
Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who wrote 8, and Reiner are both AFER founding board members. Black, the scribe behind Milk and J. Edgar, says he based 8 on the actual words of the trial transcripts, firsthand observations of the courtroom drama, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” said Black. “I’ve built my career around exposing and uncovering ‘the real story.’ The goal of 8 is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right and that those who would deny this basic freedom from loving, committed couples have only vitriol and baseless hyperbole to fall back on. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. We are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”
The production — sponsored by Bryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and X-Men — takes place Saturday at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, and proceeds will benefit the fight for marriage equality at the federal level. The free live stream of the event is unprecedented for a cast of this magnitude.
“At long last each and every American will be able to see for themselves what happens when prejudice and fear are put on trial in a court of law,”
said AFER board president Chad Griffin. “For over two years, the antimarriage proponents of Proposition 8 have fought tooth and nail to hide their discriminatory arguments from the American people. But on Saturday night, thanks to YouTube and our incredible cast, people across the nation, from Los Angeles to Little Rock to Baltimore, will get to watch as our Constitution’s promise of liberty and equality for all is protected.”
Watch 8 or Reiner's announcement on here.