Before 'Scandal,' Guillermo Diaz was a real drag in 'Stonewall'

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Image Credit: Everett Collection

Fans of Scandal know Guillermo Díaz as torture-addicted Gladiator Huck, who’s been known to lick his colleague-turned-enemy-turned-lover Quinn (Katie Lowes) and do unspeakable things to her in parking garages. Nearly 20 years ago, though, Díaz was an emerging actor who’d just starred opposite Parker Posey in Party Girl and was looking for a breakout gig. Enter Stonewall.

Díaz booked his first leading role as La Miranda, a larger-than-life drag queen (and I’m not just talking about her hair), in Nigel Finch’s fictionalized account of the days leading up to the birth of the modern LGBT rights movement on June 28, 1969.

If the trailer hasn’t sufficiently piqued your interest, here are a few more reasons to get your hands on a copy

Historical Perspective
These days, legal victories advance the gay rights movement and as gay characters and LGBT become normalized in entertainment (GleeLooking, and Faking It on TV; Milk and Blue Is the Warmest Color in film; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s Grammy-nominated “Same Love,” and the presence of out-and-proud professional athletes Jason Collins’ and Michael Sam, to name a few), Stonewall shows the struggle for civil rights for gays and lesbians in its nascent moment. Told partially through the perspective of La Miranda’s lover, NYC newbie Matty Dean (Frederick Weller), the film is a great beginner’s guide to the many (and sometimes conflicting) facets of gay culture in the ’60s.

Lip-Synch for Your Rights
Forty years before RuPaul’s Drag Race hit the airwaves, Stonewall shows Díaz serving up musical realness in a series of delightful musical number. Here’s one (slightly NSFW) example:

She’s Got the Look
Like any good queen, La Miranda dons ensembles that make Olivia Pope’s monochrome aesthetic seem drab. She also sports a seriously fierce Afro wig over which no hat—white or black—could fit. Look no farther than this international poster:

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Looking Ahead
With Roland Emmerich in production on a new Stonewall-inspired project starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Ron Perlman, prepare for the action auteur’s take on this watershed moment by coupling Finch’s personality-driven account with the found-footage doc Stonewall Uprising, which EW credited with “coloring in the oppression of gay life before Stonewall, so that when the eruption happens, we feel its necessity in our bones.”

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