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Jeremy Irvine to Star in Roland Emmerich's 'Stonewall' About the 1969 Gay Rights Uprising


Last year we reported that Independence Day director Roland Emmerich was planning a movie about the Stonewall riots, and plans are moving forward quickly.

Today, Deadline reports that War Horse star Jeremy Irvine has been cast to star in the film:

Scripted by Jon Robin Baitz, the film is about the June 28, 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, a mafia-owned bar that was a gathering place for gays and transgenders. It became the flashpoint for the gay rights movement, a galvanizing event that is considered a touchstone even today in the fight for equal rights for the gay and transgender population. Emmerich’s way in is to focus on a young man’s political awakening in the backdrop of those riots.

Emmerich plans to start production soon as he's also preparing an Independence Day sequel due to arrive in summer 2016.

'Independence Day' Director Roland Emmerich Planning Movie About Stonewall Riots

Director Roland Emmerich is planning a movie about Stonewall, he tells Empire online:

Emmerich“I may want to do a little movie – about $12-14 million – about the Stonewall Riots in New York,” revealed Emmerich. “It’s about these crazy kids in New York, and a country bumpkin who gets into their gang, and at the end they start this riot and change the world.”

Emmerich says John Robin Bates is working on a script that follows the story of a homeless gay teen who finds his way to the Stonewall Inn and "gets caught up in the riots."

Emmerich says Bates owes him 20 more pages on the script.

Empire adds:

“I’ve got more and more involved in the Gay & Lesbian Centre in Los Angeles,” says Emmerich, “and I learned that 40% of homeless kids are gay. So things haven’t changed very much. But I put this together and said, I should make a movie about that, so it starts with a kid who gets thrown out of his home and ends up on the streets of the village, and becomes friends with all these kids. In a weird way, it shows that it’s still something that happens today.

“I read a lot about it and was so surprised,” says Emmerich of the process of discovery he's undertaken on the currently untitled movie. “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.”

Movies: Interview With Out 'Anonymous' Director Roland Emmerich

 Jamie Campbell Bower as the Young Earl of Oxford in "Anonymous" 

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

German born filmmaker Roland Emmerich makes movies that only come in one size: XXL. Same goes for their box office grosses (Independence Day). Sometimes it's the title characters that are super-sized (Godzilla), but usually it's the setting. Take the disaster movie genre, for example, which usually involves one city, one building, one ship; that's not enough for an Emmerich picture. He'll destroy the whole world (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012). Initially it comes as a shock to realize that he's directed a period piece and political thriller called ANONYMOUS... until you realize that it's William Shakespeare (the world's most famous writer) and Queen Elizabeth I (easily one of the most storied royals) at the center of all the intrigue. I sat down with him recently to discuss his movies (will he ever make a gay film?) and "Anonymous" in particular, which wonders loudly whether it wasn't the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) who really wrote the Bard's immortal plays.

Shakespeare-actorThis is such a departure for you. I bet you're hearing that a lot.

A lot. [Laughter] It's a passion project. It was great to reconnect, in a way, with the art of filmmaking. And I went back to my homeland to do the film which was also cool for me. It was nice to not be responsible for tons of money, to have a really small budget but still do a very opulent kind of film. 

Did you miss the green screens a lot? Your movies generally have so many effects shots.

Well, there were a lot of green screens. Yeah, there were more than I'd ever used in a film. The theater was built but most of the street scenes and the wide shots and the courtyard [where a bloody confrontation takes place] did not exist. It was built in the computer. They've been saying for ten to twenty years that one day visual effects will make movies cheaper. For me this was the first time visual effects helped make the movie cheaper… and even possible at all!

I mean, you could have found this courtyard in England. You would have had to go there, change things (they wouldn't have had the green lawn. Then you have to put up the crew in a hotel. It's very expensive! We just had the same green screen and the same floor for different scenes.

But how do you do that with the actors? It must be hard for them with no environment to act in.

That's my job and they're good actors. You just tell them what will be behind them and they trust you. It doesn't affect acting at all. It's actually really good for sound, the stage. No waiting for airplanes. 

[On Shakespeare theories and his "gayest movie" AFTER THE JUMP...]

Roland with his Queen (Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson share the role)

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