An upcoming film about Harvey Milk -- Oliver Stone and Gus Van Sant argue over the production of this controversial project

The Mayor of Castro Street, Oliver Stone’s controversial project about Harvey Milk, is inching closer to production. While Robin Williams still hasn’t signed on to play Milk, the gay San Francisco politico who was murdered in 1978, sources close to the project at Warner Bros. are talking up openly gay filmmaker Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho) for director. Van Sant and Stone have met about the movie. Van Sant, tongue in cheek, reports: ”Oliver threw a cup of coffee across the room at me and yelled, ‘I want to do it my way!’ And I overturned his desk and said, ‘No, my way!”’ But he adds, ”I can never tell ! how far along a deal has gotten.”

Probably pretty far. An upcoming article in The Advocate magazine credits Warner sources with saying that Stone himself suggested the notoriously low- budget Van Sant for the $20 million biopic. And Van Sant, who is researching Milk’s life, admits he’d like to make the film next spring. ”It wouldn’t have been right to make this a couple of years ago,” he says. ”But with all that’s gone on in the last decade for gays, it’s really interesting again.” Not that the director doesn’t have his hands full — his version of Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (which, Van Sant says, will star Lily Tomlin, Uma Thurman, and Peter O’Toole) goes into production in August. Nonetheless, he’s game to film the life of Milk, whom he calls ”one of the most touching and heroic characters in recent history.”