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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

Jonathan Rhys Meyers on 'Star Wars' casting chatter: 'I don't believe rumors'

Star Wars rumors are a little like the Force: They surround and penetrate us. They bind the nerd galaxy together.

With director J.J. Abrams ramping up to begin production early next year on Star Wars Episode VII, lately those rumors have focused on possible casting, and one of the names that’s popped up most often has been that of Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But the 36-year-old actor — who has starred in films like Velvet Goldmine and Match Point and played Henry VIII on Showtime’s The Tudors — brushes off the reports, telling EW that, for the moment at least, the Star Wars speculation is just that. “Look, I’ve worked with J.J.,” says Rhys Meyers, who co-starred in Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III in 2006. “But I don’t believe rumors.”

'The Mortal Instruments': Lily Collins talks bringing Clary Fray to the screen

Fans of The Mortal Instruments book series can rest easy: Lily Collins, who’ll bring Clary Fray to life on screen, is just as obsessed with Cassandra Clare’s books as you are. (“Join the club!” she says with a laugh.) Collins, who was cast as Fray over two years ago, has been a fan of Clare’s work for quite some time. Now the story, which centers around a young girl who discovers a brand-new (to her) supernatural world, is finally coming to the big screen this summer, with a cast that includes Jared Harris and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

“The special effects and the CGI are going to be incredible, but it’s not a film based on that,” Collins says. “It just adds to the other elements of the film. We’ve kept the humor [from the book], and we’ve really made it about human emotion and character. I’m just excited to see the action and giggle and swoon over the romance. I hope that everyone loves it as much as I loved making it. I would love to play Clary over and over again.”

Collins talked to EW about what she likes about Clary, her thoughts when she saw the Institute set for the first time, and her reactions to Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight) as “cocky” bad boy Jace. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Reese Witherspoon will be 'The Beard.' Plus: Julianne Hough, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages) is attached to Time and a Half, a romantic dramedy penned by Diablo Cody about a young twentysomething in a dead-end job who comes across an old one night stand who also happens to be her sister’s high school ex-boyfriend. Hough just recently starred in Cody’s untitled directorial debut. Ol Parker (Imagine Me & You) is directing. [Variety]

Jonathan Rhys Meyers has joined The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, an adaptation of the first book in Cassandra Clare YA fantasy series about a young woman (Lily Collins) who learns she’s from a line of warriors called Shadowhunters, who keep the world safe from demons. Rhys Meyers will play the main villain, the ominously named Valentine Morgenstern. Lena Headey, Jared Harris, and Kevin Zegers (Transamerica) costar. Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) is directing. [THR]

Xavier Samuel (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) has signed up for Plush, an indie thriller about a rock singer (Sucker Punch‘s Emily Browning) with psychic abilities, and the similarly gifted psychologist (Twilight‘s Cam Gigandet) who tries to help her. Samuel will play a mentally unhinged guitarist who joins the band. Director Catherine Hardwicke (yep, another Twilight alum!) also penned the script with Arty Nelson. [Variety]

Michael Kenneth Williams (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) is in talks for the upcoming Robocop remake, as the old partner of the Detroit cop (Joel Kinnaman) who gets transformed into the titular crime-fighting cyborg after a near-fatal accident. Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) is directing. [THR]

Read more:
Casting Net: Jennifer Lawrence may go to ‘Ends of the Earth.’ Plus: Mickey Rourke, Kevin Costner, and a ‘Catching Fire’ baddie
Casting Net: Kristen Stewart aiming to ‘Lie Down in Darkness.’ Plus: Diane Kruger boards Terrence Malick’s Lincoln biopic
Casting Net: Russell Brand could play ‘Cupid.’ Plus: William Hurt, Margo Martindale, Adam Driver

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