Emile Hirsch talks about Cleve Jones

-GK: One could suggest Cleve is jealous of Milk's boyfriends. Did you consider that in your portrayal?

-EH: I think that's an interesting interpretation. I think there's a little bit of that, but I didn't make that my subtext. I tried to make it more that Milk is who Cleve wanted to be. Harvey is his mentor.

-GK: Back when you made the great gay film "The Mudge Boy" you expressed some concerns about playing queer. How do you go from dipping your toe in the water to playing Cleve Jones in "Milk?"

-EH: I was only 17 when I worked on "The Mudge Boy." I probably still had a little homophobia at that age, and didn't know a lot of gay people. There are probably traces of that, but not enough to get me to not want to do the film. It was an extraordinary film and I loved Michael Burke the filmmaker. It's a powerful portrait of this young guy.
But in terms of this, after I saw "Brokeback Mountain," and I was just so caught up in that movie, and I think it paved the way for mainstream younger actors to play gay characters.
-GK: Cleve is an outsider. How do you identify with his character?

-EH: Cleve is such an adventurer. I kind of relate to that. I like the adventure of making films and acting. I get a high off that. I think Cleve got similar highs off similar adventures in his life. We'd drive down a street, and he'd say, "Twenty-five years ago, I led 10,000 screaming drag queens at midnight down this street with a bullhorn!"

-GK: You seem to have made a career recently playing real life characters in "Alpha Dog," "Into the Wild," and now "Milk." Do you have an affinity to bringing real people to life?

-EH: Some of the characters I play, their flames burned so brightly you stand near them, you're going to get some of that light. In Cleve's case, his flame burns very brightly. He's flaming!
Source: www.gaycitynews.com