Many of the greatest events in the history of American civil rights have yet to be portrayed on film. Why might this be the case? Perhaps it’s because no director feels up to the task of making a film about such huge events that have shaped so many lives for the better. It’s taken two hundred years to make a film that tries to do justice to the abolishment of slavery, so we may have to wait for some time until filmmakers feel distanced enough from the memory of events to properly capture that time on film.
Or not. Roland Emmerich, after he’s finished the press for the latest of his many cinematic attacks on the White House, might just start work on a film that would be about a very different kind of attack on the White House; gay rights. He’d set out to portray the Stonewall riots, or rather the story of a homeless man who seeks shelter in the Stonewall bar in New York when police attempted to storm the property, and were met with considerable resistance. In Emmerich’s own words, as helicopters explode behind him:
It was the first time that gay people had shown the police that they should take them serious. And when the riot police came – this has always been fascinating for me – these kids formed a chorus line and sang, ‘We are the village girls, we wear our hair in curls!’ It was such a cool thing.
It’s honourable that the man should attempt to do justice to such an important event in modern American history, but is he the right director for the job? After all, the White House barely factors at all in the story, and it’d be difficult to see how his story of a homeless guy getting caught up in the riots could encourage the usual Emmerich tropes. The director doesn’t state whether or not the homeless person is gay or straight, which of course makes a difference. It’s so rare to have a gay main character in mainstream cinema and it’d be fantastic if Roland Emmerich could make it so.