TORONTO — Roland Emmerich made big-budget movies like 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow and last year’s White House Down in Montreal — but now the German director plans to be in the city to make a low-budget film about New York’s infamous gay riots.
Stonewall chronicles the moments leading up to and following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s East Village, on June 28, 1969. The anti-police riots that ensued were a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement.
Gay pride celebrations in many cities in the U.S. and Canada are typically held on the last weekend of June to mark the anniversary of the riots.
“It’s one of these civil rights moments and very little is known about it,” Emmerich told Empire last year. “Even gay people don’t know much about it.”
The movie, written by Jon Robin Baitz (Brothers and Sisters) will focus on a homeless gay teen who gets caught up in the riots. Cameras will roll this summer.
“I read a lot about it and was so surprised,” Emmerich said. “It was the first time that gay people had shown the police that they should take them serious.”
Emmerich’s films — including Independence Day, Godzilla and 2012 — have grossed more than $3 billion in total.
Last year’s made-in-Montreal White House Down had a budget of $150 million but Emmerich said Stonewall will be made for around $14 million.
No casting information has been made public.