In a recent interview, Dustin Lance Black, who penned the script for Milk, said that every studio except Focus Features turned down the film.

In the 2008 film, Sean Penn plays politician Harvey Milk, a gay activist who won a long-fought election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 to become California's first openly gay elected official. San Francisco supervisor Dan White, who the next year assassinated Milk along with Mayor George Moscone, is played by Josh Brolin. James Franco plays Milk's romantic partner.

The film received 8 Oscar nominations including a nomination for best picture and became an instant gay classic. Black won his first Oscar for the film's screenplay.

(Related: Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black: Harvey Milk “would have gone” after Trump.)

Speaking with comedian Suzi Ruffell on her Out with Suzi Ruffell podcast, Black, 45, said that the film was a labor of love.

“It was a labor of love, and you go to a studio with that,” Black said. “Plus, I had worked my tail off to get [director] Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, James Franco, Emile Hirsh.”

Black added that the world has “changed massively” as it relates to LGBT representation in Hollywood since the film's debut.

“No one was buying gay films. Studios weren't asking for gay characters or gay storylines. There were a few that had been successful – thank God for Ellen and Will & Grace.

“Now you have executives, places like Netflix, that know they want to serve a diverse audience. That just wasn't a conversation.”

“There had been one big, successful box office success, which was Brokeback Mountain. And so I went there first, to Focus Features, because I said, 'They know that this isn't a dead end.' Everyone else said no to it, by the way.”

Focus Features “did an incredible job with it,” Black added.