[Movies] Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts To Star In The Normal Heart Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.10.2014
Coming Soon reports that Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, The Kids Are All Right), Matt Bomer (White Collar, Magic Mike), Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, John Carter), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Julia Roberts will all star in HBO Films' The Normal Heart. The cast also includes Alfred Molina (An Education), Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Law & Order), Jonathan Groff (Looking), Denis O'Hare (True Blood), Stephen Spinella (Milk), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Finn Wittrock (Unbroken) and BD Wong (Oz).
The film will be directed by Ryan Murphy (Eat Pray Love, Glee) and written by Larry Kramer (Women In Love), adapting his Tony Award-winning play of the same name. It will debut on HBO in May.
Here's a synopsis: The drama tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.
HBO's press release also provided a character breakdown for everyone in the film:
- Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers.
- Bomer will play Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned's lover.
- Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist.
- Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival.
- Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.
- Alfred Molina plays Ned's older brother, Ben, who is a successful attorney.
- Joe Mantello plays Mickey Marcus, who is an instrumental member of the Gay Men's Health Crisis.
- Jonathan Groff plays Craig, Bruce's lover, an early victim of HIV-AIDS.
- Denis O'Hare portrays Hiram Keebler, Mayor Koch's gay aide.
- Stephen Spinella plays Sanford, one of Dr. Brookner's first patients.
- Corey Stoll portrays presidential senior advisor John Bower.
- Finn Wittrock plays Albert, a male model.
- BD Wong portrays Buzzy, a nurse who works with Dr. Brookner.
In 1981, Kramer hosted a gathering of six gay men and their friends to talk about the "gay cancer" and fundraising for research. The meeting became the start of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care. His play debuted at New York's Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles, London and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival earned five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.
The film is produced by Plan B and Blumhouse with Ryan Murphy Productions. It is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto (Glee), Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Dede Gardner (12 Years a Slave). Ruffalo is co-executive producing with Scott Ferguson (Temple Grandin) producing.