George Clooney is throwing his considerable star power behind the fight against Prop. 8 by signing on to appear in a reading of the play "8" in Los Angeles. The play, by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, is scheduled to have a staged reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3.
The play "8" is based on research and transcripts from Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the 2010 federal court battle that dealt with the legality of Prop. 8, the controversial ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California. The judge in the case ruled that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional, but the decision has been appealed.
The reading of "8" will serve as a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, an advocacy organization that has fought to overturn the initiative. Clooney is the first actor to be announced for the L.A. reading.
A spokesman for Clooney said the actor was traveling in Australia this week and was unavailable for comment. But in a release sent by the foundation, Clooney said: "It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens. I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people -- like all human beings -- are born equal in dignity and rights."
Rob Reiner will direct the reading at the Wilshire Ebell. A spokeswoman for the foundation said that Reiner called Clooney to ask if the actor would be interested in being involved in the production.
Tickets for the one-night benefit reading can be purchased online.
The play received a staged reading in September at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York. The New York and L.A. readings are co-organized by Broadway Impact, an activist group of theater professionals.
Black, who along with Reiner is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, has made revisions to the play since its New York reading.
Clooney, who currently is starring in the movie "The Descendants," has lent his support to political and humanitarian causes including the crisis in Darfur and last year's earthquake in Haiti.