AUSSIE actors Rachel Griffiths and Guy Pearce have signed on to star in a new TV series set to air on the US ABC network about the history of gay rights in the country.

Created by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black, When We Rise chronicles the history of the LGBTI rights movement from its origins in San Francisco and the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York to the present day. It will also focus on the personal and political struggles of a diverse group of men and women from the LGBT community.

Black won an Oscar for penning the film Milk about San Francisco gay rights activist Harvey Milk and will team up again with its director Gus Van Sant, who will direct the the eight-hour long When We Rise mini-series.

Pearce will star as LGBTI activist Cleve Jones, who campaigned with Milk in the 1970s, founded the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and led the National March for Equality in 2009.

Griffiths will play social justice activist Diane, whose wife — women’s rights leader Roma Guy — will be played by Weeds actress Mary Louise Parker.

Shooting has begun in Vancouver on When We Rise, which is a semi-autobiographical project for Black, who has worked on many LGBTI projects and publicly campaigned for LGBTI rights and marriage equality.

“It’s been the honour of my life to research and craft these stories of family, diversity and equality over the past three years,” Black said in a statement.

“To have collaborators of this calibre sign on to help bring these stories to life is a tremendous vote of confidence, and I hope a testament to the relevancy and necessity of our continued march toward justice for all.”

#whenwerise #clevejones

A photo posted by Cedc59 (@cedc59) on

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