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Roland Emmerich, Hollywood's master of disaster, discusses directing 'Stonewall' -- EXCLUSIVE

June 28 will mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, in which New York City police raided a Greenwich Village gay dive bar called the Stonewall Inn. It wasn’t unusual for cops to harass and even arrest customers at gay clubs in 1969 — but this time, the Stonewall’s regulars fought back. The confrontation that ensued helped spark the gay civil rights movement.

It’s currently Day 5 on the Montreal set of Stonewall, a $20 million indie about the historic riot that stars Jeremy Irvine (War Horse), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point), and Ron Perlman (Drive). But what’s most fascinating about the project may be its director: Roland Emmerich, the gay, German-born filmmaker best known for blockbuster science-fiction and disaster epics like Independence Day, 1998’s Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow.

The director, who’s destroyed the White House on multiple occasionss (in his films, anyway), checked in from the set to explain his personal passion for Stonewall, and why audiences shouldn’t be too surprised by what seems like a change of pace.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In the past, you’ve expressed a preference to tell “fantastic stories,” and most people know you from your sci-fi and disaster films. But Stonewall is real and grounded in history. Why Stonewall, and why now?
ROLAND EMMERICH: I was always naturally interested in the subject matter. Then, maybe two or three years ago, a couple of friends and I were kind of talking about marriage equality, and one of them said to me, “You know, Roland, you should make a gay movie.” And I’m saying, “Well, nobody wants to see a gay movie from me.” And then I kind of said, “Well, if it’s an important subject matter, then maybe they will.” At the same time, I was involved with the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, and they told me that 40 percent of all homeless youth are gay, which is a disproportionate amount. That was like the bridge to today. It’s still going on. [Gay] kids get thrown out of their homes and become homeless, and [my movie] is like a story of one of these kids who gets involved in the whole Stonewall riots, because the riots were actually kind of done by the kids. A lot of them were homeless. They were hustlers, kids who had nothing to lose. READ FULL STORY

Jonathan Rhys Meyers joins 'Stonewall,' the latest from director... Roland Emmerich?

The 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City were a landmark moment of the gay civil rights movement, and with a cast that includes Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors), a new movie about the protest has all the makings of prestigious Oscar bait. And it might be. But the film, scripted by Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz, has a surprising director: Roland Emmerich. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Brie Larson to star in Emma Donoghue's 'Room'; Plus, Matt Damon, more

• Brie Larson (Short Term 12) is set to star as Ma in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue‘s 2010 best-seller Room about a kidnapped woman living in captivity with her 5-year-old son. Donohue wrote the script for director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Frank). Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the book an A- and wrote: “Though the story’s chilling circumstances reflect the horrors endured by tabloid-famous abductees, Donoghue avoids all sensationalism. Instead, she gracefully distills what it means to be a mother — and what it’s like for a child whose entire world measures just 11 x 11.”  [Deadline] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Bradley Cooper back in the Lance Armstrong fold, more

• Remember way back in January when we all thought Bradley Cooper was going to play Lance Armstrong and then he basically told us all to cool it because he hadn’t even heard of the J.J. Abrams/Bad Robot project? Now, eight months later, Cooper is in fact close to boarding a different Armstrong pic, Red Blooded American, as a producer and a potential star for director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents). Cooper, who scored an Oscar nomination for his work in Silver Linings Playbook, would either play Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton, a teammate of the disgraced cyclist in the Warner Bros. and Atlas Entertainment pic, with a script from Side Effects writer Scott Z. Burns. Should Cooper take on the role of Hamilton, we still have our own wish list for the part of Armstrong. In addition to the Paramount/Bad Robot pic, Working Title also has an Armstrong movie in the works, with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints Ben Foster starring and Stephen Frears (The Queen) directing. [Deadline]

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