Dustin Lance Black’s “When We Rise,” a fact-based miniseries about the LGBT rights movement in the 1970s and ’80s, could not be more topical in this political climate, but the creator and executive producer wishes it weren’t so timely.
“I would give anything in the world for it to be less topical right now,” the writer said during the show’s Television Critics’ Association’s press tour Tuesday. “I never could have imagined that it would land in this moment. I’m not entirely surprised, because as a student of history, we know that history is not a straight line. History is a pendulum… It’s a necessary conversation to have right now. It’s a conversation about what it’s like to be a minority in this world and how important it is for us to work together for equality. So we can live lives that are more equal and that are safer.”
Black also addressed the backlash the show is already receiving online from extreme conservative groups.
“This show is under attack by the alt-right online,” he said. “We have been targeted. We will get absolutely zero ratings on every internet platform. But this show is not a war. We are not against anyone. Every single person in this world is a minority in one way or the other, it just depends on how you slice the pie. This show tells us how we are related.”
The Oscar-winning writer — who said he wrote “When We Rise” for people like his relatives in the South, where he grew up in conservative, religious communities — thinks even the president-elect might get something out of the show.
“There’s an idea about the show out there in some small groups,” he added. “I think there’s a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump who will love this show. I don’t see this show as a show that’s only trying to speak to half this country. That’s not what this show is about. I didn’t write this show for half a country. I think if Donald Trump actually watched the show, he might like the show.”
“When We Rise” premieres Monday, Feb. 27.