Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wyoming School Hostage Drama Comes Full Circle

In 1986, David Young, a former town marshal, together with his wife, took 154 students and teachers hostage at an elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming. Miraculously, it ended without the loss of innocent life; only the death of the deranged couple.

Many of those involved were Mormons, and this summer, a new drama is being made in Salt Lake City about the so-called "Miracle in Cokeville." What makes the project especially notable is the make-up of some of the background actors. From a recent report by Salt Lake Tribune reporter Lisa Schencker:

Now, 28 years later, Lisa Nate Conger and more than a dozen other [Cokeville] survivors are reliving the event, literally. They’ve been working as extras in a movie about it being filmed partly at Whitesides Elementary in Layton. In many cases, they’ve also invited their children to participate, some of whom are now the same age as they were in 1986.

The film is the latest project of Excel Entertainment, a Utah independent film company known for Mormon-themed films. However, in this case, producer Ron Tanner and director T.C. Christiensen told Schencker they are going to downplay, in the marketing, the Church of the Latter-day Saints angle. (Many of the students were Mormon.)

There's another faith-based aspect of the original Cokesville standoff that should prove to be highly interesting in the film version. A number of survivors have reported seeing what looked like angels shortly before Young's wife Doris accidentally detonated a booby-trap bomb, setting the stage for the murder-suicide that spared all those innocent bystanders.

[Excel Entertainment]

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