Without a doubt the year’s most controversial queer-themed films, Stonewall, has generated heated debate well ahead of its release since the first production stills were released to the media in July. Sight unseen Roland Emmerich’s retelling of the events that took place in Greenwich Village in June 1969 that helped pave the way for the modern LGBT equality movement has angered activists who fear the historical events have been “whitewashed” of the significant efforts of drag queens and trans people of color due to the movie’s focus on a fictional protagonist Danny (played by Jeremy Irvine) who is young, white, blond and attractive. Since the backlash began, the studio has begun releasing clips to disprove the naysayers, such as this one featuring the late trans activist pioneer Marsha P. Johnson.
In the just-released behind-the-scenes featurette, we’re given more insight into some of the other characters in the film, such as Ray/Ramona (played by Jonny Beauchamp, best-known for for his trans role in the series Penny Dreadful). In an interview Beauchamp reveals that certain characters are composites of real-life folks such as Raymond Castro, “who was very much one of the Village kids” and Sylvia Rivera, “one of the first really prominent trans activists.” Beauchamp says he’s always wanted to tell Rivera’s story because “she’s infinitely special.”
Elsewhere in the video, screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz notes, perhaps referring to Irvine’s character, that “it’s exciting when ordinary people do extraordinary things.” The drama hits theaters September 25.
Check out the behind-the-scenes interviews below.