The true story of an American town in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Director:

Moisés Kaufman

Writers:

Moisés Kaufman (play), Moisés Kaufman (screenplay) | 20 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Chalfant ... Anonymous Female Rancher
Laura Linney ... Sherry Johnson
Peter Fonda ... Doctor Cantway
Jeremy Davies ... Jedadiah Schultz
Nestor Carbonell ... Moisés Kaufman
Camryn Manheim ... Rebecca Hilliker
Andy Paris Andy Paris ... Stephen Belber
Grant Varjas ... Greg Pierotti (as Grant James Varjas)
Kelli Simpkins ... Leigh Fondakowski
Clea DuVall ... Amanda Gronich
Billie McBride Billie McBride ... Waitress
Bill Christ Bill Christ ... Man on the Porch
Frances Sternhagen ... Marge Murray
Regina Krueger Regina Krueger ... Alison Mears
Michael Emerson ... Reverend
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Storyline

"The Laramie Project" is set in and around Laramie, Wyoming, in the aftermath of the murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard. To create the stage version of "The Laramie Project," the eight-member New York-based Tectonic Theatre Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, recording hours of interviews with the town's citizens over a two-year period. The film adaptation dramatizes the troupe's visit, using the actual words from the transcripts to create a portrait of a town forced to confront itself. Written by yusufpiskin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone Carries a Piece of the Truth. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one scene, Rebecca Hillicker (Camryn Manheim) is directing a rehearsal of a play that Moisés Kaufman (Nestor Carbonell) says he "never gets tired of" (and Hillicker responds, "Yeah, well, try directing it fifty times."). The play is "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, which won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and has been a staple of community, college, and high school theaters ever since. Like "The Laramie Project", "Our Town" is a play about a typical American small town and the impact on that town's citizens of the death of a beloved young person. See more »

Quotes

Dennis Shepard: My son, Matthew, did not look like a winner. He was rather uncoordinated and wore braces from the age of 13 until the day he died. However in his all-too-brief life, he proved that he was a winner. On October 6th 1998, he tried to show the world he could win again. On October 12th 1998, my first born son, and my hero, lost. On October 12th 1998, my first born son, and my hero, died. 50 days before his 22nd birthday. I keep wondering the same thing that I did when I first saw him in the hospital...
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Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: Otto, or Up with Dead People (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Fight Wyoming Fight
Written by Edgar Lewis
Performed by The University of Wyoming Band
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User Reviews

 
A Moving Film
29 November 2002 | by dmgoehringSee all my reviews

It took me a long time until I finally rented the DVD version of this. I live in Laramie, I go to the University. I didn't arrive here until 2000, but I was, and always have been, a Wyoming resident. Part of me was curious, especially with the actors involved, but another part realized how close to home this was. How close? My drama teacher Lou Anne Wright played Matthew Shepards mother (albeit uncredited).

When I first started watching this I was really confused. If they were taking a documentary approach, why in the hell would they then use real actors? As I sat and thought about it more, though, it made a bit more sense. The interviews were recorded only audibly at the time of the incident for the play version. You could sit down and reshoot it with the original citizens, but it would no longer feel natural. Plus I doubt they would've gotten all the people to consent to being filmed. Remember this is a small town and anonymity can go a long ways.

Aside from the acted documentary, I really felt they did a good job of trying to bring Laramie to life. Yes, they did focus a bit too much on the train tracks which are more or less out of town. I've only even seen them a few times in my 3 years here. They seperate Laramie from West Laramie. Not East Laramie from West Laramie, but Laramie from West Laramie, which should tell you something. Aside from that, it felt surreal to watch this. When I stepped outside my dorm afterwards to return it, I was staring right in the face of the hotel sign that at the time of filming read "Hate is Not a Laramie Value." I drove down third street and saw Laramie Lumber, I drove back on 4th and saw the antiquated Spic & Span Laundry. When they talk about how they drove past Walmart when they went out to kill him, I knew that road. I've driven home on that road many a time.

The characters were also extremely well-acted. For every character I saw portrayed on screen, I've known at least one Wyoming resident that was exactly like them. While some of the performances may have seemed extreme and hokey to some, I felt they had it down pat. I laughed to myself when Buscemi's character spelled out H-O-P-E for emphasis...I've heard the same silly thing done the same way by the same sort of people. Aside from "Live and Let Live" which I can honestly say I've never heard here in 20 years of WY residence (yet was emphasized over and over in the film), I've heard many of the same statements said almost verbatim by people I know.

The story, of course, is touching, but the route they went of making it the story of Laramie vs. the story of Matthew Shepard made it more than just a movie-of-the-week style thing. You can feel the emotions seeping through the screen. At the angel protest, I felt like jumping up and shouting down the bigoted guy leading the anti-gay side.

For its authenticity and heart-felt storytelling, I can't help but give this one a strong recommendation.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Laramie Project See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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