Jeremy Irvine: Controversy over Stonewall film has actually helped educate people

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Stonewall star Jeremy Irvine has said that controversy over the film has actually helped raise awareness about the diversity of the riots.

The Roland Emmerich film is based on the 1969 Stonewall riots, which are often considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

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Prior to release, the film came under fire amid claims of whitewashing and trans-erasure, after the first trailer suggested it would be centred on a white middle-class gay hero.

Later clips have focussed on historical queer figures, such as black drag activist Marsha P Johnson, and the film’s director insists it is representative.

Irvine, who played the lead role in the film, spoke to the Daily Beast about the controversy.

He said: “I don’t think any of us expected it to get the attention that it has… but now how many people have heard the name Marsha P Johnson, opposed to never having heard it before?

“I was out last night and had a few groups of people come up to me and wanted to talk about the film.

“They wanted to know if Marsha P Johnson was going to be a part of the movie and I was like, ‘Yeah! But also, how cool that you are all talking about that!’.”

He added that he found the initial trailer for the film misleading in its approach, paying tribute to the diversity portrayed in the final film.

He said: “I saw the movie and then a week later the trailer came out.

“You know, I’m not in charge of film marketing but I think that was a very misleading trailer and I was very keen [to set the record straight] because I had just seen it and wanted to tell others, ‘No, no, you should still see it.’”


“If people want to base a movie on a two-minute trailer, that’s fine and I understand why. No minority has been treated worse that the black transgender community so I totally understand that.

“But it’s nice for the movie to come out and say, ‘Look.’ This is a movie we’re all genuinely really proud of.”

Watch a clip from Stonewall below, in which drag queens are harassed during a police raid for ‘cross-dressing’.