Judy Garland has an intensely fervent and faithful following in the LGBTQ community — and the new film “Judy” makes the case that she loved her fans right back.
Two small but crucial characters in the film are Stan and Dan (played by Andy Nyman and Daniel Cerqueira), who wait for Judy outside the London nightclub Talk of the Town, where she has a five-week gig. Feeling lonely, she asks them to join her for dinner — leaving them stunned.
As the evening progresses, she ends up at their apartment, where Stan tearfully opens up to her about the difficulties the two gay men have had maintaining their relationship in the face of legal persecution. Judy’s music has provided them with solace throughout their suffering.
Although Stan and Dan are fictional characters, “Judy” director Rupert Goold says they represent Judy’s global fanbase and specifically her large LGBTQ following. Goold said their inclusion was the “brilliant idea” of writer Tom Edge.
“Stan and Dan are absolutely a highlight of the film; they bring humor and love and magic,” producer David Livingstone said. “They help us understand Judy’s role as an icon whilst also embodying the love she generated from her fans.”
“[They] came out of discussion about how we flesh out Judy’s experience in London, and the need to see Judy through the eyes of her audience at some level,” Goold explained. “The gay community weren’t allowed to lead normal lives, and there is an interesting parallel with Garland, who’s trying to find a normal life for herself and her children. I spoke to academics who’ve investigated ideas of sexuality through the prism of Garland. For the post-Stonewall generation, ‘Friends of Dorothy’ is a strong affirmative voice against discrimination.”
Goold was referring to the Stonewall Riots, an uprising in the gay community against a police raid that began in the very early morning the day after Garland’s funeral at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
“Friends of Dorothy” was a euphemism used between LBGTQ people to discuss their sexual orientation. It dates back to World War II, when homosexual acts were illegal in the U.S. Dorothy, of course, is a reference to Garland’s “Wizard of Oz” character.