The trailer for Stonewall has hit the web. The film chronicles the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York which sparked the modern gay rights movement. Directed by Roland Emmerich (Anonymous, Independence Day), the film marks a departure for the German-born filmmaker mostly known for big-budget spectacles. Set to make its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and release in theaters in early fall, the film (being distributed stateside by Roadside Attractions) is also sparking controversy as LGBT activist groups are making claims the movie “whitewashes” history.
The film, written by playwright and Brothers and Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz, depicts the events from the perspective of Danny (Jeremy Irvine, The Railway Man), a Greenwich Village youth who comes of age sexually and politically during the days and weeks leading up to the Stonewall Riots. While the character of Danny is fictitious, many real life activists that participated in the Stonewall Riots are depicted in the film as well- Penny Dreadful‘s Jonny Beauchamp portrays Ray Castro, for instance. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point), Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Joey King (White House Down) co-star as well.
That Stonewall builds its narrative on Danny, a white male, is garnering heat and online petitions in protest to the film. LGBT activist groups are denouncing the picture for supposed whitewashing or relegating people of color and non-gender conformists to the background. The Gay-Straight Alliance Network put up an online petition boycotting the film and has reached nearly 20,000 signatures. A Move-On petition, which states, “We are boycotting Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall movie for erasing the contributions of of-color queer and gender non-conforming activists” has over 400 signatures so far as well. Either way, Stonewall is set to theaters on September 25, 2015.
Emmerich took to Facebook to address the criticism: