Hardly a day goes by lately without a member of the Stonewall team attempting damage control by posting a message that defends the upcoming historical drama against activists who are calling for a boycott, certain that this cinematic retelling of the 1969 riots in New York City — the pivotal moment in the queer rights movement — has been “whitewashed” of its important trans players, such as late icon Marsha P. Johnson. It should be noted — once again — that these angry LGBTs haven’t yet seen the full film and they’re taking this stance based solely on viewing the film’s
music video trailer. We’ve heard from director Roland Emmerich, who says his movie “deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro.” Screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz insists this version of the Stonewall riots is “is not the definitive story of a revolution” but it’s “about an awakening, one young man’s awakening to the reality of what it means to be ‘the other’.” Now, Stonewall‘s star Jeremy Irvine, who plays that awakened young man, Danny, a fictional character, has joined the counter-protest with a message posted on his Instagram account in which he not only defends the depiction of the events (Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s character represents the influential Mattachine Society, but praises his director’s sensitivity to the story and the portrayals of his costars.
Read Irvine’s message in its entirety below then scroll down for a couple of stills for the film that have just begun to circulate and which feature characters of color.
To anyone with concerns about the diversity of the #StonewallMovie. I saw the movie for the first time last week and can assure you all that it represents almost every race and section of society that was so fundamental to one of the most important civil rights movements in living history. Marsha P Johnson is a major part of the movie, and although first hand accounts of who threw the first brick in the riots vary wildly, it is a fictional black transvestite character played by the very talented @vlad_alexis who pulls out the first brick in the riot scenes. My character is adopted by a group of street kids whilst sleeping rough in New York. In my opinion, the story is driven by the leader of this gang played by @jonnybeauchamp who gives an extraordinary performance as a Puerto Rican transvestite struggling to survive on the streets. Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character represents the Mattachine Society, who were at the time a mostly white and middle class gay rights group who stood against violence and radicalism. I felt incredibly nervous taking on this role knowing how important the subject matter is to so many people but Roland Emmerich is one of the most sensitive and heartfelt directors I’ve worked with and I hope that, as an ensemble, we have not only done such an important story justice but also made a good movie as well. Jeremy