The latest glimpse at director Roland Emmerich’s upcoming Stonewall spotlights actor Jonny Beauchamp and the Puerto Rican gender-fluid character he brings to life in the film, Ray/Ramona.
“Stonewall, it’s really about how the youth started this revolution. Not that many people know about it,” Beauchamp says in the featurette. “To me, it’s a really interesting moment of American history — a ferocity. It’s defiance. It’s gay power. And these kids just had enough. It’s not one specific person. It was a collective. It was a group.”
Beauchamp says his character is a composite of real-life Stonewall veterans Raymond Castro, who was one of the first people arrested during the 1969 riots, and Sylvia Rivera, the trans icon who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists Alliance, and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, the latter of which she cofounded with her close friend Marsha P. Johnson.
“One thing I love about Ray is that Ray is a dreamer,” Beauchamp says. “And if he’s anything like Sylvia Rivera, we know he goes on to really kind of give back to the community because he’s got so much love and he’s got hope.”
Following the release of Stonewall’s first trailer, the film came under heavy fire with accusations that it diminished the contributions of trans activists and people of color in the 1969 uprising by depicting the story through the eyes of a fictional white young man named Danny (Jeremy Irvine), who goes on to throw the first brick that incites the riots.
Emmerich defended his film in a lengthy Facebook post, saying, “When this film — which is truly a labor of love for me — finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day.”
Watch the featurette below. Stonewall comes to theaters September 25.