Synopsis by Mark Deming
Laramie, WY, is a small town which became infamous overnight in the fall of 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was found tied to a fence after being brutally beaten and left to die, setting off a nationwide debate about hate crimes and homophobia. A month after the crime, Moises Kaufman, a writer and director with the New York City theater troupe the Tectonic Theater Project, traveled to Laramie with a handful of actors to interview people who lived in and around Laramie in preparation for an upcoming production; Kaufman's goal was to create a play that focused not on the assault on Matthew Shepard, but on the community where such an attack could happen, and how many of the citizens reacted to the crime. The result was The Laramie Project, which was first performed in early 2000, and was performed in Laramie in the fall of that year, two years after Kaufman and his associates first arrived in the city. The Laramie Project is a film adaptation of Kaufman's play, in which the thoughts and opinions of Laramie residents from all points of the political spectrum are presented alongside re-enacted excerpts from the trials of the two men who attacked Matthew Shepard. Produced for the premium cable network HBO, The Laramie Project was adapted for the screen by Moises Kaufman, who served as both writer and director. The distinguished cast includes Dylan Baker, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Janeane Garofolo, Laura Linney, Amy Madigan, Camryn Manheim, Christina Ricci, and Frances Sternhagen.
gay/lesbian-rights, gay-bashing, hate-crime, interview, police-officer, prejudice, protester, small-town, trial [courtroom]