For his latest project, director Roland Emmerich swaps his signature destruction of national landmarks for the destruction of societal norms. His upcoming film Stonewall centers on the famous riots that took place in 1969 after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular New York City gay bar. This push back against discrimination is seen as a turning point in the fight for gay rights and the beginning of the modern gay pride movement.
But there’s already been some controversy over Stonewall’s presentation of history. In real life, the instigators of the riots were a group of drag queens and transgender women of color. The film, however, features these characters in supporting roles and invents a new protagonist named Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine), an “all American” cis (i.e. non trans) white man who flees to New York after his parents kick him out for being gay. “With the toss of a single brick,” the film’s plot description explains, “a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.” Detractors won’t be happy to note that in the trailer, Danny is the one tossing that brick.
At least they can take some comfort in the fact that Emmerich is working outside of his comfort zone. Danny could be a schlubby scientist with an estranged wife who has to win her back while preventing a global disaster.
Stonewall hits theaters September 25.