Boys Don’t Cry is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Peirce and Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, an American trans man played in the film by Hilary Swank, who adopts a male identity and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska but falls victim to a brutal crime perpetrated by two male acquaintances. The film co-stars Chlo├½ Sevigny as Teena’s girlfriend.
After reading about the case while in college, Peirce conducted extensive research for a screenplay, which she worked on for almost five years. The film focuses on the relationship between Brandon and his girlfriend Lana Tisdel. The script took dialogue directly from archive footage in the 1998 documentary The Brandon Teena Story.Many actors sought the lead role during a three-year casting process before Swank was cast. Swank was chosen because her personality seemed similar to Teena’s. Most of the film’s characters were based on real-life people; others were composites.