Powerful and incendiary Almost every progressive social movement has a moment in its history that later generations look back on as a catalyst, as an incident that sparked action, incited awareness, and created push forward; a moment that is looked at as the beginning. For the gay rights movement, that was the 1969 Stonewall Riot. Roland Emmerich’s new movie Stonewall dramatizes the events surrounding this incident, and there’s now a powerful, incendiary new trailer to check out.
Stonewall tells the story of Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine, War Horse), a fictional character who gets kicked out of his family home in the middle of the American heartland for being gay. He leaves his friends and family and old life behind and moves to New York where he falls in with the crowd of Greenwich Village street kids who hang out at a local dive called The Stonewall Inn.
The Stonewall was a shady, mafia-run joint that became a de facto gay club, frequented by the poorest, most marginalized segments of the LGBTQ community, including drag queens, male prostitutes, transgender people, and more. As was the case at the time, it was subject to frequent raids from the police, and from what we see in this trailer, Stonewall looks to dramatize the discrimination, harassment, and atrocities they endured. Their frustration and anger builds in Danny and his friends until one day, early in the morning on June 28, 1969, tensions spontaneously erupted into what is considered by many the most definitive moment in the modern gay liberation movement.
The real story is so powerful and moving and important, not to mention super interesting, that you have to hope that it doesn’t fall into a stereotypical "small town kid comes to the big city" narrative. Clocking in at just over two minutes, this trailer is quite stirring in its depiction of social injustice, so hopefully Stonewall gets the movie it deserves.
Working on a movie this size is something a bit different for Roland Emmerich, who his most known for his large-scale disaster epics like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. As you can see, he does have the opportunity to indulge his more destructive cinematic impulses here, but with a reported budget of $12-14 million, this probably cost roughly the same as the catering on a movie like Independence Day: Resurgence.
Written by Jon Robin Baitz (The Slap), and starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonny Beauchamp (Penny Dreadful), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Joey King (White House Down), and Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), Stonewall hits theaters on September 25.