knew who she was. She said she had to get her head back
together. She wanted to come back to her old life and her
old life was Teena Brandon."
- JoAnn Brandon (Teena's Mother), 2000.
Questioning the Story:
Was the real Lana Tisdel happy with Chloe Sevigny's portrayal
No. The real Lana Tisdel sued the filmmakers, claiming
that they depicted her as a drug-addicted drunk, citing
that the movie makes references to her as "lazy, white
trash and a skanky snake." The film also falsely depicts
Tisdel falling asleep at the murder scene and "doing
nothing about it after it has occurred," as stated
in Tisdel's lawsuit.
How did Teena's mother, JoAnn Brandon, react to the film
Boys Don't Cry?
JoAnn Brandon was outraged by the film's portrayal of
her daughter Teena. In early 2000, JoAnn, who could not
work because of severe asthma, still owed money for her
daughter's funeral. She said that she was irritated that
a fund set up to pay for the funeral received meager contributions,
while others, such as the filmmakers, profited from her
daughter's death. "I'm really sick and tired of people
making money off my child," JoAnn said in an Associated
Press article. "I don't understand how you can put
three weeks of somebody's life up on film and win an award
Did the filmmakers interview Teena's mother, JoAnn Brandon,
for the movie Boys Don't Cry?
The filmmakers did not interview Teena's mother, JoAnn,
for the film that they were making about her daughter. JoAnn
was upset that they also neglected to interview Teena's
close friends and relatives. (The Associated Press)
did Teena Brandon's mother think of Hilary Swank's Oscar
Teena's mother, JoAnn Brandon, was upset that Hilary Swank
referred to her daughter in her speech as Brandon Teena,
her daughter's male alter ego. "That set me off,"
JoAnn Brandon said. "She should not stand up there
and thank my child. I get tired of people taking credit
for what they don't know."
What does Teena's mother believe made her daughter want
to become a man?
Brandon, Teena's mother, was upset that the filmmakers
failed to explain
that for several years when Teena was a young girl,
Teena had been sexually molested by a man. JoAnn said
that Teena sought counseling in 1991, and began to dress
in men's clothing and date women as a defense strategy.
"She pretended she was a man so no other man could
touch her," JoAnn said in an Associated Press article.
Teena's mother been in touch with her daughter at the time
of Teena's death?
Teena's mother last spoke to Teena on December 30th, the
day before Teena's death. Her mother said that she had clearly
spoke to a woman. (The Associated Press)
How did the local townspeople react to the film when
Reactions from the locals of Falls City, Nebraska were less than complimentary.
The film depicted most of them as drunks. "It's nothing like the town that's in the
movie," said Virginia Ernst, a local Falls City movie
theater manager. Resident Jared Kirkendal agreed. "That's
not Falls City," he said at the end of the film. Kirkendal
also commented in an Associated Press article, "It's
weird they made it more of a love story than a crime."
What did Sarah Nissen, cousin of attacker Tom Nissen,
think of the film?
An 18-year-old high school student at the time of the film's
release, Sarah Nissen, cousin of attacker Marvin Thomas
Nissen, said that everything that Tom told her about the
actual events indicates that the film's storyline is wrong.
"There's none of it that's right," she said. "It
was just weird."
What has become of Teena Brandon's killers, John Lotter
and Tom Nissen?
Lotter is on death row awaiting execution in the state's
electric chair. Tom Nissen is serving a life sentence in
prison. Nissen's sentence came after he agreed to testify
against Lotter. The two men were convicted of the murder
of Teena Brandon, who used the alias Brandon Teena when
she posed as a man. They killed the 21-year-old in an attempt
to silence her after she told the police that they raped
her when they learned her true gender. Two others who were
witness to Teena's murder were also killed at the scene
by the two men.
Does Kimberly Peirce, writer and director of Boys
Don't Cry, believe her film is true to the real story
of Teena Brandon?
Kimberly Peirce said that she is aware that she took dramatic
liberties with the film. One of these liberties includes
the exclusion of the second witness, who was also murdered
at the scene.
Was Boys Don't Cry based on the book All She
Wanted by Aphrodite Jones?
No. Aphrodite Jones did however file a lawsuit against Fox
Searchlight, claiming that the studio backed out of a deal
that involved her book being turned into a movie with Drew
Barrymore. She claimed that the studio backed out when they
discovered Boys Don't Cry and purchased the rights
to that film instead.
Hilary Swank Character-to-Actress Comparison:
Swank at the 2002
MTV Movie Awards
was quite a drastic transformation for the actress,
Hilary Swank (pictured both left and right above). It
was a transformation that yielded her a Best Actress
Oscar and future roles in films like Insomnia (2002)
opposite Al Pacino.
Library Description of the Crime Scene
Female to Male
Brandon's Hometown Reacts to the Film
the Boys Don't Cry Movie Trailer:
Message Board (Discuss the Film):