Academy Award–winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black seems pretty fearless. He blossomed into a gay-rights activist despite a Mormon upbringing. He spent years researching and writing the screenplay for Milk completely on spec; only after it was complete did Gus Van Sant sign on to direct, which got the ball rolling to get the movie made. And now, Black has directed his first feature film, What’s Wrong with Virginia, starring Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, which he shot in Michigan and is currently editing in New York. “I came here to edit the movie because I would like to live here,” he told us at the Cinema Society screening of Howl last night. And finally, Dustin Lance Black is facing something that scares him.
“I’m currently looking for a place to live. So if anyone has any tips on how to find a place, I could use them,” he said, rather nervously. Rents are dropping, we mentioned, trying to be helpful. “So don’t do it yet?” he asked tersely. “Do it now?” We assured him we simply meant that rents are negotiable these days, thanks to the ailing economy. “Oh, all right, yeah,” Black muttered. “It’s more, like, finding the place. I’m spoiled, I’m used to L.A.[where] there’s like a million places open at any given time. And you come here, and it’s like a hunt,” he added bleakly. “I have hope; I’ll find it.” Hey Lance, you know what they say — if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.