Brandon Teena had his life tragically cut short after he was brutally murdered by two of his friends in Falls City, Nebraska, in 1993. Then, six years later, the movie Boys Don’t Cry sent the trans man’s story to the silver screen. But the Oscar-winning flick only tells part of the horrific tale of Teena’s life and the terrible way in which it ended.
Kimberly Peirce spent five years researching and writing the screenplay for the movie Boys Don’t Cry, but she almost didn’t make it into a full-length film. That’s because the director struggled to find the right actress to play the leading role in the story – that of Teena himself.
But Peirce eventually found the right person to star in her film. Hilary Swank – at the time, a largely unknown actress – nabbed the role of Teena after she remarkably convinced the doorman at her audition that she was a man. Then, immediately afterwards, Peirce took Swank to chop off her hair and dye it brown to match that of the trans youth whom she was set to portray.