In August I posted about the 80-minute epilogue to The Laramie Project which was to open on the 11th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. Some new details: the show will be opening at more than 130 theaters simultaneously on October 12.
The AP reports that a major segment of the show features testimony from Aaron McKinney (above, center), whom gay actor/writer Greg Pierotti interviewed for more than 10 hours:
"According to the detailed notes taken by Pierotti and condensed into
the new script, McKinney says he had been drawn to crime ever since
childhood, feels sympathy for Shepard's parents and expresses regret
that he let his own father down. 'As far as Matt is concerned, I
don't have any remorse,' McKinney is quoted as saying in the script,
which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company. McKinney,
according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in
Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his
antipathy toward gays played a role. 'The night I did it, I did
have hatred for homosexuals,' McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on,
according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that
his perceptions about Shepard's sex life bolstered his belief that the
killing was justified. McKinney and his accomplice, Russell
Henderson, targeted Shepard at a bar in Laramie in part because they
assumed he was gay, according to the script. 'Well, he was overly
friendly. And he was obviously gay,' McKinney is quoted as saying. 'That played a part … his weakness. His frailty. And he was dressed
nice. Looked like he had money.'"
Of Judy Shepard's ongoing work against hate crimes, McKinney says: "…she never shuts up about it, and it's been like 10 years."
Pierotti says he wanted to address whether or not the murder was a hate crime, a question raised by a sensationalist 20/20 segment by Elizabeth Vargas in 2004 claiming the murder was motivated by drugs.
Adds Pierotti: "He's perfectly comfortable acknowledging he doesn't like gay people,
and for me it was unnerving to experience his lack of remorse. Yet I feel very protective of him — not in an apologist
way, but I see he has a lot of complexity. … As an artist, it's more
interesting to dig into who this person is."
The New York performance, which will take place at Alice Tully Hall in
Lincoln Center, will reportedly be connected to all the other performances by the
internet with a live question-and-answer session following the debut.