The Normal Heart will premiere on Sunday, May 25 at 9 PM on HBO, the network said today. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts star in the HBO Films presentation based on Tony-winning Larry …
EXCLUSIVE: It took Larry Kramer 30 years to see his Tony-winning play The Normal Heart make it to the screen. The path may be far shorter for a Normal Heart follow-up. I’ve learned that HBO has commissioned a script by Kramer for a potential sequel to the HBO Films’ The Normal Heart, which is set to premiere in May. I hear The Normal Heart director Ryan Murphy, who spearheaded the effort to make the play into a movie, would be back at the helm, with the film’s stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons expected to return, along with the entire producing team: exec producers Murphy, Kramer, Jason Blum, Dede Gardner and Dante Di Loreto.
The original movie (and the play) focused on the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City from 1981-84, ending before there was an HIV test. The sequel would chronicle the events from 1987 through the 1990s, with Ruffalo, whose Ned Weeks (modeled after Kramer) witnessed the disease first-hand in The Normal Heart, becoming an activist trying to help people who have been affected — also similar to Kramer’s real-life trajectory. Roberts plays Emma Brookner, the polio-stricken physician who treated several of the earliest victims of the disease; Parsons portrays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he also played in the play’s 2011 Broadway revival.
“It’s very modern to me,” Ryan Murphy said of his HBO production of the 1980′s-set The Normal Heart, based on Tony-winning Larry Kramer’s play about the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City. The play ends in ’84 before there was an HIV test; Murphy’s film is about 45% new material written by Kramer, he said. “Gay marriage is in the news, and people are fighting to be loved for who they are and to be accepted for who they are. That’s still very modern and applicable for the way we’re living today.” Murphy said he had to take out a second mortgage on his house to pay for the rights to the play — then acknowledged he was kidding, but that the rights were pricey.
“I tried to be true to those boys I feel I owe so much to,” he said of the adaptation. “I’m married and have a child. It feels like it’s a civil rights movie. That fight paved the way for the life I have today. It’s a very painful chapter in our lives. At the end of the movie we talk about President Reagan and his legacy, and Ed Koch and his legacy” — without whom, Murphy said, the HIV-AIDS crisis “could have been much less tragic.”
The episode’s three-hankie music covers have been released, media polls have been created so you can vote which made you cry hardest, the creator has spoken of weeping cast members shooting excruciatingly emotional scenes, the tabloids have written about the mysterious exclusion from the episode of the actress who played his original love interest – it’s time for Fox to air the Cory Monteith tribute episode of Glee tonight and see how America reacts.
Fox and the show creators had decided, shortly after Monteith’s death, to air a couple of original episodes first, followed by a Monteith tribute episode this week, which got the episode away from the crush of new-show premieres and returning show debuts. Among Fox competitors this week, talk seemed to be split between those who think this episode will pack a wallop, and those who expressed surprise the episode hasn’t generated more buzz and wonder if Fox waited too long to deal on-air with the actor’s death.
For two years running, Ryan Murphy’s miniseries American Horror Story has earned more Emmy nominations than any other show. This year American Horror Story: Asylum has 17 noms including the marquee movie/miniseries category. But the real question is whether those noms will turn into more wins this time around. To date, the genre show has taken home only two statuettes: one for leading lady Jessica Lange and one below-the-line for makeup. Murphy has made no secret of the fact he covets his own Emmy for AHS and spoke to Deadline’s AwardsLine editor Christy Grosz:
Deadline: Do you think this is your year to win for the series?
Ryan Murphy: I never would think about, “Oh, are we going to win? Do we deserve to win?” I like that people who have worked so hard on the show have, for the most part, been nominated. That thrills me to no end. It’s a very ambitious show in its scope, in its breadth. It’s 13 hours worth of material. From start to end, it takes almost 18 months to cook it up, to work it, to write it, to shoot it. It’s a really large endeavor and thankfully Fox Studios has given me the time and financial resources to do that. Last year, in particular, it was more than a horror show to me. What we really tried to make it be was a social commentary. It really was a look at the mental-health industry in the 1950s and 1960s and how it eventually was shut down and how that in itself was a great “American Horror”. Every year we take that phrase and try to make it specific. I thought it really came together in a great way. So should we win? I never know about those things. I’m just glad we were acknowledged. I think our competition is incredible. All of those nominees are certainly deserving. You never know. It’s really just a crapshoot at the end of the day, but I was really happy we were in there in such a big way two years in a row. When the show started I think a lot of people didn’t think it was going to fly or have legs. There’s a lot of supposition and stereotyping when it comes to the horror genre, so anything we can do to knock down some walls and make way for other people is great thing.
BREAKING: In his first public comments since the tragic death of Cory Monteith from an overdose of heroin and alcohol, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy tells Deadline that a quick return to work was a collective decision made by cast and crew, which decided the best way to deal with the grief of losing the show’s breakout star was to return to work and mourn together. That decision was made after consulting with Monteith’s longtime girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele, as well as Monteith’s heartbroken costars and crew.
“We will begin shooting in late August the two shows we had already written, so that people can physically go back to work,” Murphy said. “We will then do an episode that will deal with the death of Finn’s character and follow that with a long hiatus. I don’t know exactly when we will come back, and we are trying our best with this attempt at damage control. We are planning a memorial for the cast and crew sometime this week on the Paramount lot.” Murphy will write that episode with co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, but acknowledges they aren’t sure at this early stage what form it will take. They will have to have it ready when they finish the first two segments, which is a tribute to The Beatles, and the trio will write the episode using Michele as a creative barometer.
An autopsy will be conducted on the body of Glee star Cory Monteith today, as Fox execs begin discussing how to handle the return of the series on which he was a breakout star. The show’s writers, meanwhile, will consider what to do about the first two episodes in which the return of Monteith’s character was to have played an important part. Fox network had planned to open the Glee’s fifth season early — Sept. 19 – in order to get a batch of episodes broadcast before the network’s annual post-season baseball messing up of its primetime schedule. The first two episodes of the fifth season had been written before the traditional long summer hiatus, in order to get a jump on the new season; production had been scheduled to start next week. The return of Monteith’s character, hunky high school football star turned glee club darling Finn Hudson, was much anticipated by fans, Monteith having been absent from the final episodes of last season to check himself into a drug treatment facility late last March. The 31-year-old Monteith had been open about his substance abuse problems in the past, revealing two years earlier he’d first entered a rehab program in his late teens. Along with Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, Monteith had been prominently featured last season despite his character graduating from McKinley High at the end of the previous season as part of a show “reboot.’ When the announcement was made that he was temporarily leaving the show, Glee production house 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement, “Everyone at the show wishes him well and looks forward to his return.”