Roland Emmerich is best known for his effects-heavy disaster epics, from Independence Day to 2012, but the director will be working on a much smaller scale for his next film, the gay rights drama Stonewall. Today, ahead of the start of production, The Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Sons of Anarchy actor Ron Perlman, in addition to Fargo actress Joey King, have come aboard.
The film, which is being toplined by War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine, centers on the 1969 riots which followed a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village. Emmerich will narrow the focus to tell the story of one man’s political awakening at the time of the riots, which would become a pivotal event in the gay rights movement in America.
Irvine plays Danny Winters, who abandons his family and younger sister (King) to head to New York after becoming aware of his sexuality. Penniless and needing shelter, Danny encounters a group of street kids who bring him into contact with the Stonewall Inn, described as “the watering hole of the local drag queens, gays, lesbians, and everything in between.” Inside the bar, Danny meets the suave Trevor (Rhys Meyers) before he’s spotted by Ed Murphy (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.'” Danny soon becomes embroiled in the gay rights movement when police launch a brutal raid on Stonewall. As the official synopsis states, “In a storm of anger and with the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.”
X-Men: First Class actor Caleb Landry Jones and newcomers Jonny Beauchamp, Karl Glusman, Vlademir Alexis and Alexandre Nachi have supporting roles. Emmerich is working from a script by Jon Robin Baitz, a playwright who created and wrote episodes of Brothers & Sisters. The film is a passion project for the director, and he is shooting it now in Montreal, before he gets to work on the upcoming two-part sequel to Independence Day.
Stonewall is expected to find a release date sometime in 2015.