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Jeremy Irvine being gay, but also straight

Stonewall director: films need ‘straight acting’ leads

Director Roland Emmerich claims that straight audiences are put off by films with a gay lead

Roland Emmerich – the director of the upcoming Stonewall – has revealed that he purposely chose a “straight-acting” male lead to avoid putting off straight cinema audiences.

The film, which is based on the infamous 1969 Stonewall riots, has already been accused of whitewashing a pivotal part of the gay rights movement. Especially as the first trailer that was released showed most of the action focussing on a white, middle-class male lead, and not on historial figures like black trans activist Marsha P Johnson.

“You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people,” Emmerich told Buzzfeed on Wednesday. “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.”

Because – FYI everyone – straight people don't feel for people who aren't “straight acting.” Don't know if you missed that memo.

The Independence Day director did insist that the film would still be a very personal and accurate portrayal though, adding: “As a director you have to put yourself in your movies, and I’m white and gay.” 

There is no official release date in the UK for Stonewall yet, but it's released in the US tomorrow. And while its expected to open to mixed opinions, an early review published in Vanity Fair called it “terribly offensive, and offensively terrible.”

Despite that, the film's lead, Jeremy Irvine, stands by it. In a statement on his Instagram, the actor wrote: “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.”