Brow Beat

Roland Emmerich Takes on the Gay Rights Movement in the Trailer for Stonewall

Roland Emmerich, whose credits include Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, may not seem like the obvious aesthetic choice to direct a film about the bar where the gay rights movement was born. But the filmmaker (who is gay himself) is doing just that with Stonewall. The new trailer for the film centers around a fictional character named Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine), a fish out of water who comes to New York when his parents kick him out.* He finds his place in the gay community that congregates at The Stonewall Inn, which would become the site of the famous 1969 riots.

Stonewall looks markedly different from the films Emmerich is best known for—a brick through a window is a far cry from an alien invasion. In fact, when the first Rent-like promotional stills from the film were released, Stonewall looked like it could even plausibly be a musical (it’s not). In any event, the film will be a highly fictionalized portrayal of fight, complete with police brutality and civil rights champions, for LGBT equality.

*Correction, August 4, 2015: This post originally misstated that Jeremy Irvine is a fictional character in Stonewall. Jeremy Irvine is the name of the actor who plays the fictional character Danny Winters.