The ABC miniseries event about the LGBTQ rights movement, When We Rise, shot earlier this year in San Francisco and elsewhere, is set for a February premiere, and the network just released the first official trailer. Particularly in light of the Democalypse and what some predict will be the rolling back of hard-won rights and victories for equality under a Trump administration, this is a tear-jerker, but maybe this is a better time than any to retread this history in dramatized fashion. The seven-episode, eight-hour miniseries stars Guy Pearce as longtime gay activist and Harvey Milk acolyte Cleve Jones, on whose about-to-be-published memoir the series is based, and also features Whoopi Goldberg, Mary Louise Parker, Rosie O'Donnell, and more.
The series begins with the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, and because much of the subsequent fight for LGBT civil rights was centered in San Francisco over the next decade, SF will have a starring role. When We Rise is backed by the team of Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and director-producer Gus Van Sant, who previously teamed up on Milk and were in SF doing similar location shooting eight years ago for that film. Also collaborating here are television helmer Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing, The Americans), and prominent LGBT filmmaker Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie), as Entertainment Weekly reports.
Whoopi Goldberg plays Pat Norman, the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department, and the first African-American lesbian to run for SF Supervisor; Rosie O'Donnell plays pioneering lesbian activist Del Martin, who with partner Phyllis Lyon founded the nation’s first lesbian civil rights organization, the Daughters of Bilitis; Mary Louise Parker plays women’s rights champion Roma Guy, and Rachel Griffiths plays Guy’s wife and Women's Building co-founder Diane Jones. TV stars Pauley Perrette, David Hyde Pierce, and T.R. Knight will also make guest appearances.
In a statement, Black said, "It’s been the honor of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years. To have collaborators of this caliber sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all."
We'll update you when ABC announces the official premiere date.
Update: The first episode premieres on February 27 at 9 p.m.