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Larry Kramer's 'A Normal Heart' Will Debut on HBO in May

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 9, 2014 at 6:56PM

Ryan Murphy and Larry Kramer's adaptation of his Tony-winning play 'A Normal Heart,' starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts, will debut in May for HBO Films.
Ruffalo and Kitsch in 'The Normal Heart'
Ruffalo and Kitsch in 'The Normal Heart'

Ryan Murphy and Larry Kramer's adaptation of his Tony-winning play 'A Normal Heart,' starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts, will debut in May for HBO Films.

Directed by Murphy (“Eat Pray Love,” “Glee”) and written by Kramer (“Women in Love”), the movie dramatizes the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s.

The film also stars Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll ), Finn Wittrock and BD Wong. An HBO Films presentation of a Plan B and Blumhouse production in association with Ryan Murphy Productions, "The Normal Heart" is executive produced by Murphy, Dante Di Loreto, Jason Blum, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner. Mark Ruffalo co-executive produces. Produced by Scott Ferguson, the film's crew includes production designer Shane Valentino, director of photography Danny Moder, editor Adam Penn, costumer designer Daniel Orlandi, composer Cliff Martinez and casting directors Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Gelfond.

Here's the official synopsis:

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. Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Taylor 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, writer Larry Kramer hosted a gathering to discuss the “gay cancer” and to talk about fundraising for research. This informal meeting lead to the formation of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care. Kramer’s play debuted at New York’s Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.

This article is related to: HBO Films, HBO , HBO, Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.