Burns wrote, produced, directed and starred in the project as he was trying to break into the entertainment industry and the family drama, about three Irish Catholic McMullen brothers from Long Island, New York, became a big hit in the independent film circuit, winning top honours at the Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Deauville Film Festival.
The Saving Private Ryan star admits he's remained good pals with co-stars Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone ever since, and he's keen to have a second installment of The Brothers McMullen ready for release in 2014.
Burns tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "I've kind of always stayed in touch with Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone from The Brothers McMullen. Your lives get more complicated and you have kids so you don't get to hang out as much as you do but McMullen was such an amazing chapter in all of our lives. To go from a pack of nobodies who had never been in front of a camera before to all of a sudden that film gave all of us a career. So I think we all feel kind of connected to that.
"I've started to sit down and outline a sequel to McMullen. It'll be 20 years later so I (have) three more years to basically write the screenplay, but I think I've got my story down."
In 1977 Harvey Milk (Penn) was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While this would not normally be an earth-shattering phenomenon in this case Milk became the first out-of-the-closet gay person to win a major public office in the United States -- and was assassinated in 1978 along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Based in part on the Academy Award-winning documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk the film focuses on the last decade of his life as he moves from New York at age 40 to San Francisco with lover Scott Smith (James Franco). Using his experience as an entrepreneur as a catalyst he suddenly becomes more politically involved making a couple of runs for office and finally getting elected. With a new lover (Diego Luna) and agenda Milk takes on some major issues -- including lobbying against California’s controversial Prop 6 an initiative to fire gay schoolteachers. But his activities anger another supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin) and soon their destinies will collide. It’s not an overstatement to say that Sean Penn’s performance here is a revelation. As Harvey Milk he not only perfectly embodies the late politician but exudes a certain kind of warmness and humor we rarely see from the star. His immersion into the persona of Milk is truly remarkable and winning. A large supporting cast includes: standout performances from Franco as Milk’s true love and friend Scott who eventually can’t compete with Harvey’s increasing ambition; Diego Luna hilarious and annoying as Milk’s lover later; and Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones a young activist and Milk protégé. Brolin as the unlikeable White perfectly captures the frustration and simmering jealousy the man he feels steals his job. It’s a risky role and there is little room for audience empathy but Brolin makes this loser understandable if not acceptable. As the lone woman among the principal players Alison Pill is bright and appealing as Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg. Gus Van Sant’s odd directorial career encompasses a series of ups and downs with the highlights being Drugstore Cowboy and his Oscar-nominated work on Good Will Hunting. The absolute nadir of Van Sant’s resume is undoubtedly his ill-advised shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s untouchable Psycho. It’s nice to report he’s back in form now with the warm funny and moving Milk a film that doesn’t quite escape the clichés of the biopic genre but still finds its own beats thanks in large part to the piercing performances. Getting such mature and joyful work from Penn a brilliant but distant actor is impressive indeed. He also imbues the movie with a documentary feel appropriate since much of the source material comes from the Oscar-winning docu. Milk paints us a triumphant and inspiring life one that won’t soon be forgotten especially with its parallels to current California circumstances. The state’s recent anti-gay marriage initiative Prop 8 could not have come at a more significant time in making Harvey Milk’s crusade seem more relevant than ever.
Leave it to Hollywood to try to fool audiences into thinking that Walter Matthau and any woman could produce offspring in the form of Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Meg Ryan.
The three actresses, who, uh, aside from their gender have nothing but blond hair in common, co-star in Columbia Pictures' "Hanging Up" (opening today) as sisters dealing with an aging father (Matthau).
"Hanging Up" The Pointer Sisters they are not. How do three kids -- who in flashbacks appear close in age -- grow up into a mismatched trio wherein Keaton suddenly looks (at least) 15 years older than Ryan and Kudrow? Welcome to Hollywood-style gene splicing.
"Hanging Up" is just the latest example of mismatched sibling combos. Consider:
-- "Little Women": The lack of family genes is very obvious in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 remake featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Winona Ryder. Ryder is but one of the four sisters; cast as her siblings are Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Trini Alvarado. At least Ryder and Alvarado have the same hair color, but the fair red-headed Danes and dirty blond Dunst are off in left field, and on opposite ends at that.
-- "The Brothers McMullen": Actor-writer-director Edward Burns, Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone could never pass as brothers. In fact, Burns and McGlone, who reunite in the "Brothers McMullen" follow-up "She's the One," look absolutely nothing alike. Well, unless they had different fathers and mothers.
-- "Family Business": In this little-seen 1989 Sidney Lumet bomb, a son (Matthew Broderick) estranged from his father (Dustin Hoffman) enlists the help of his career-criminal grandfather (portrayed by a very Scottish Sean Connery) to pull off a heist. Broderick, Hoffman and Connery are never believable as family -- of this Earth, anyway. Connery begat Hoffman begat Broderick? Forget genetics, this is perhaps the most egregious example yet of star packaging gone awry. Speaking of Connery, witness the familial casting insanity in 1998's "Playing by Heart." Connery is married to Gena Rowlands, and their daughters are Gillian Anderson, Madeleine Stowe and Angelina Jolie. Uh, OK.
The problem also affects TV shows. Consider:
-- "Sisters": In this touchy-feely 1991-96 series, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz and Julianne Phillips (Bruce Springsteen's ex-wife, the one with really full lips) are about the funniest mismatched trio on television since "The Three Stooges." The dark-haired Ward, who in her small cameo role at the beginning of the Harrison Ford starrer "The Fugitive" looks oddly like ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, would never be mistaken for the redhead Kurtz. Actually, does anyone in Hollywood resemble Kurtz?
"Eight Is Enough" -- "Eight Is Enough": Poor Adam Rich. He looked nothing like his non-mop-topped siblings on this 1970s show, and they looked nothing like him. (Which, at least, was consistent. The other faux siblings -- particularly the five actresses cast as the five Bradford sisters -- looked nothing like each other, either.) Apparently eight was not enough. "The Cosby Show" and even "The Brady Bunch" did it better.
-- "Family Ties": "I bet we've been together for a million years." So says the theme song from this 1982-89 sitcom, but take a look at the original Keaton siblings (Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers) and you know that "Family Ties" even a million years couldn't make these three (later, four -- when Brian Bonsall joined the cast) look like family. Fox and the little Bonsall could pass as brothers. Heck, even Fox and Bateman could pass as siblings with a little stretch of the imagination, but where did Tina Yothers' Jennifer Keaton come from, with her big '80s blond hair? The adoption agency?
But fear not, for all is not lost. Casting directors have made some uncannily good decisions for siblings. Julia Roberts and Kyra Sedgwick work as sisters in "Something to Talk About." So the potential is out there.
And those Baldwin brothers sure do look a lot alike.