Watch the Fictionalized Beginnings of Gay Liberation in Roland Emmerich’s ‘Stonewall’ Trailer


Roland Emmerich may be known for directing such mega-movies as Independence Day and the 1998 Godzilla, but he’s also been recognized for his LGBT activism, having donated one of the largest sums Outfest ever received. (The money helped kickstart the Legacy Project, “the only program in the world devoted to preserving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving image media becoming lost to deterioration and neglect.”) And, from the look of the just-released trailer for his film Stonewall, the director now appears to be pairing his polished filmmaking sensibilities with his devotion to LGBT history.

Like a good deal of based-on-a-true-story films, the trailer for Stonewall laces a pivotal historical event — a key moment leading to the gay liberation movement — with a Hollywood formula and coats it in a nostalgic sheen. It follows out-of-towner Danny Winters along his journey from timid newcomer on the outskirts of the NYC 60s gay underground (arriving at Christopher Street for the first time; his surprise at a man’s butt wiggling in its gold lamé shorts) into an active position at the movement’s core (brick throwing/making out with Jonathan Rhys Meyers).

Watch the trailer:

Here’s the official synopsis for Stonewall (via Indiewire), which opens on September 25:

STONEWALL is a drama about a young man in New York caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal event widely considered the starting point for the modern gay civil rights movement. Kicked out of his own home, young Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) flees to NY, leaving behind his beloved sister (Joey King). Homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the watering hole of the local drag queens, gays, lesbians, and everything in between: The Stonewall Inn. However, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. At the bar, Danny meets the suave Trevor (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) before catching the eye of Ed Murphy (Ron Perlman), Stonewall’s repulsive manager who colludes with corrupt police, exploits homeless youth for financial gain, and is even suspected to have had a hand in some of their “disappearances.” It spirals out of control when the police unexpectedly raid Stonewall. In a storm of anger and with the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.