We’ve come a long way in regards to the depiction of LGBT characters on the screen, but despite the success of Brokeback Mountain and a couple of gay-related movies making waves each year, it’s still extremely difficult to fund films where sexuality is the core of the story.
Even someone like Roland Emmerich – who can usually get $100 million plus budgets together to make films like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow – found it almost impossible to get his planned take on the Stonewall riots funded. You’d have thought with a story people have heard of and a director as well known as Emmerich it wouldn’t have been tough, but it was.
Roland has been telling Vulture about the difficulties, saying, “It was an uphill battle, but we finally did it. We wanted to do it in New York on location, and that failed miserably because it was so expensive.”
He also wanted to ensure it was an ensemble story, but that added extra diffifculties.”If you can cast a central character with one or two famous actors, you have a good chance to get the movie financed,” he says, “but in my case, I knew there was not really one central character in the Stonewall riots.”
Emmerich also had something to say in response to criticisms that have already surfaced about the unfinshed film, based on the fact the synopsis suggests the events of Stonewall will be seen through the eyes of a young, white character called Danny (Jeremy Irvine) – leading to accusations of white-washing and ignoring the trans* people who were central to events in New York in 1969. However, he insists that while Danny may be the way into the story, the movie isn’t ignoring the the diversity. “I think we represented it very well,” he says. “We have drag queens, lesbians, we have everything in the film because we wanted to portray a broader image of what ‘gay’ means.”
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how he does handle it, and hopefully the critics will wait until they’ve seen the movie before writing it off. Emmerich certainly seems devoted, as it’s rumoured he found it so difficult to raise the funds to make the movie through normal channels that he ended up providing some of the budget himself. The film’s out in the US in September.