By Anna Peirano
“The Normal Heart,” a play written by Larry Kramer and popularized on stage, has received the go-ahead to be turned into an HBO movie directed by Ryan Murphy. The film will star Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts.
The Normal Heart tells the story of the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City. Set in the early 1980s, Kramer takes an “unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city in denial.”
Julia Roberts will play paraplegic physician Emma Brookner, who treats some of the earliest victims of the epidemic. Mark Ruffalo will play Ned Weeks (the character based on Kramer), and Matt Bomer will play Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover.
“We are so proud to be involved with this monumental project,” HBO’s Michael Lombardo said in a statement. “Ryan has assembled an extraordinary cast to bring Larry Kramer’s landmark theatrical achievement to the screen for the first time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this important film to HBO.”
Kramer is working on the adaptation from stage to screen, and filming should begin in New York City by this fall, slated to air in 2014.
The play debuted at New York’s Public Theater in 1985, and was revived on Broadway in 2011. It went on to be nominated for five Tony awards, winning three, including Best Revival, Best Featured Actor, and Best Featured Actress.