'Stonewall' Director Says He Chose A 'Straight-Acting' Character To Appeal To Straight Audiences


Ever since the release of the theatrical trailer for "Stonewall" earlier this year, director Roland Emmerich has faced outrage from the queer community.

Many individuals have claimed that the film "whitewashes" the Stonewall narrative -- often cited as the beginning of the mainstream gay rights movement -- and erases the drag queens, transgender patrons and queer people of color present during -- and largely responsible for -- the rebellion.

While we wanted to wait until the release of the film before fully passing judgement, the reviews have been nothing short of abysmal, like Vanity Fair's which calls it "offensively terrible and terribly offensive," and now, as far as we're concerned, Emmerich has just driven the final nail into the film's coffin in a new interview.

Speaking to Buzzfeed, the director claimed that the film has a white, male, cis "straight-acting" protagonist because he is, for all intents and purposes, using one of the most iconic moments in queer history to... reach straight people.

"You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people,” he said. “I kind of found out, in the testing process, that actually, for straight people, [Danny] is a very easy in. Danny’s very straight-acting. He gets mistreated because of that. [Straight audiences] can feel for him.”


Gawker even notes that Emmerich used the phrase "straight-acting," which is incredibly problematic, in the film's production notes.

"In the movie’s production notes, Emmerich notes that Danny is also 'straight-acting,' which is a term that I can’t believe any gay man uses anymore, much less a gay man who’s taken it upon himself to teach the world about a pivotal moment in gay history," wrote Gawker writer Rich Juzwiak.

In general, we're just plain disappointed. Not only does this film seem to have a problem with erasure, but apparently also with reproducing the heteronormative ideals that the very essence of being a queer person -- and the spirit of Stonewall -- goes against. What a waste of a chance to make an incredible film that could honor the legacy of those who fought to bring equality -- on our own terms -- to the queer community.

Do us -- and everyone -- better, Hollywood.

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