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.”
EXCLUSIVE: The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons and Friday Night Lights alum Taylor Kitsch will co-star opposite Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer in The Normal Heart, HBO‘s original movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Larry Kramer play, which is being written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy. The project tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. He was previously attached to Murphy’s adaptation when it was eyed as a theatrical feature. Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist.