The Normal Heart (TV Review)

In the last few years there seems to have been a renewed interest in the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. There have been documentaries, films and books, as well as major re-stagings of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. The reason for this is probably twofold.

Firstly there is a whole generation of LGBT people who weren’t even born when AIDS first emerged, many of whom know little about it. Even if they do know about it, they often treat it like something from the dim and distant past that has nothing to do with them (as I’ve said before, the fact gay-history isn’t taught in schools tends to make many people, including many gay people, think there isn’t one or that it isn’t important). Secondly, those who survived the emergence of ‘gay cancer’ are now getting older (Kramer is now 78) and so it’s not surprising that they should want their stories recorded to ensure that it’s those who lived through it who control the narrative. [Read more...]

Take A Look At Taylor Kitsch’s Shirtless Career Courtesy Of Ellen

You might not expect a lesbian to have a fascination with the male torso, but Ellen Degeneres (or at least the producers of her chat show) certainly seems to. She’s certainly not averse to showing off buff man meat on her show.

Now she’s decided that with Taylor Kitsch coming on her show, it was a good opportunity to pay homage to the fact he’s spent almost as much time on screen with his shirt off as with it on. Indeed John Carter almost seemed like $200 million worth of special effects all spent to show his abs off to better effect.

There’s no doubt that the less he wears the better the Battleship and Normal Heart star looks. And if you need any more proof. Check out this page. [Read more...]

More New The Normal Heart Posters Arrive Featuring Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons & Julia Roberts

normal-heart-poster-quintetJust yesterday we featured two new posters for HBO’s upcoming The Normal Heart, which featured lead actors Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.

Now they’ve been joined by three more, this time giving us Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts.

Based on Larry Kramer’s seminal play, The Normal Heart sees Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks, who in the early 80s is one of the first people to raise an alarm about a new disease that’s initially known as ‘Gay Cancer’, but which was later called HIV/AIDS. Matt Bomer is Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Ned’s lover.

Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he previously took in a 2011 Broadway revival of the play. Julia Roberts is Emma Brookner, a doctor who is the only one of her peers in New York taking AIDS seriously. Jonathan Groff is playing an early victim of the disease called Craig, whose boyfriend, Taylor Kitsch, starts off as a closeted investment banker but eventually becomes an AIDS activist.

Larry Kramer’s play is considered one of the most important reactions to the early AIDS epidemic, written by someone who has on the front lines of the fight, such as co-founding Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP. Kramer later wrote a follow-up, The Destiny Of Me.

You can see all five Normal Heart posters below (click on them for larger versions). The film debuts in the US on May 25th and will hopefully reach the rest of the world soon afterwards.

Full The Normal Heart Trailer – Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo & Taylor Kitsch offer searing drama


We’ve had a few fairly short trailers for The Normal Heart, but now HBO has released a new one, which suggests this is going to be a dramatic and powerful adaptation of Larry Kramer’s seminal play.

It’s not going to pull any punches in its look at the early days of AIDS in New York, when the disease didn’t have a name and no one knew what it was that was suddenly striking down gay men. Inevitably people are already talking about which Emmys and Golden Globes it might win.

In the film Mark Ruffalo takes on the lead role of Ned Weeks, who in the early 80s is one of the first people to raise an alarm about the new disease that initially was known as ‘Gay Cancer’, but which later was called HIV/AIDS. Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he previously took in a 2011 Broadway revival of the play.

Julia Roberts is Emma Brookner, a doctor who is the only one of her peers in New York taking AIDS seriously. Matt Bomer is Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Ned’s lover. Jonathan Groff is playing an early victim of the disease called Craig, whose boyfriend, Taylor Kitsch, starts off as a closeted investment banker but eventually becomes an AIDS activist.

Larry Kramer’s play is considered one of the most important reactions to the early AIDS epidemic, written by someone who has on the front lines of the fight, such as co-founding Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP. Kramer later wrote a follow-up, The Destiny Of Me.

The rest of the world should get to see The Normal Heart shortly after its US HBO debut on May 25th. [Read more...]

Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo & Taylor Kitsch Are Looking Good As They Talk The Normal Heart

normal-heart-thr10On May 25th, Ryan Murphy’s film version of Larry Karmer’s seminal play about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in New York, The Normal Heart, debuts on HBO in the US. This week THR chronicles the long journey to get the play to the screen – an odyssey that’s been going on ever since it debuted on stage in 1985.

Along with the piece are plenty of quotes from the film’s stars, including Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo & Taylor Kitsch, as well as a great photoshoot, where they’re all looking pretty awesome.

As the article relates, it wasn’t too long after The Normal Heart caused a sensation on stage in 1985 that Hollywood came sniffing. That included Barbra Streisand, who tied up the rights for years, often seeming as if she was going to nearing the point she’d get it on screen, but never quite doing so. Others attached or interested at various timse include John Schlesinger, Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes. It eventually took Murphy and HBO to do it -  as Ryan says, “Larry had his heart broken so many times, I promised him I would not stop until it got made.”

Normal Heart’s journey to the screen is a truly fascinating tale, which is as much about changing attitudes to HIV and gay people as it is about the difficulties of Hollywood (and the fact Kramer isn’t always the easiest of collaborators).

It’s also interesting to note that while making the movie for HBO is seen by some as having to settle for the poor relation of cinema, the pay-TV network actually gave Ryan Murphy a larger budget (around $18 million) than he probably would have had if it had been an indie feature.

There are plenty of good nuggets about the actual movie in the article too, such as Matt Bomer’s need to lose weight to play an AIDS victim. He left his family for a few weeks that were “really monastic and solitary — to create the physical reality of what Felix [his character] was going through.”

However he was happy to do it as, “The piece meant so much to me. People like Larry and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP were the catalysts for the gay rights movement, and we stand on their shoulders.”

Ruffalo adds, “The play served as an agitprop theater piece when that kind of politics and strategy really needed to be employed. The movie opened up a much more humanistic and universal tale about love, mostly about love.”

And while it’s taken 30 years to get the movie made, Jim Parsons feels it’s a good time for a film version. He says, “We’re at another really right time for this story. I felt it doing the play [on Broadway] and I feel it now that the movie is about to come out. Time has been very good to Larry’s script. This story has only gotten richer.”

Head here to read the full story and take a look at some of the great pics from the cast shoot below. [Read more...]

New The Normal Heart Trailer – Fresh look at Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and co. in the AIDS drama


We’ve had a couple of brief looks at Ryan Murphy’s take on Larry Kramer’s classic play about the early days of AIDS, The Normal Heart. Now comes another, courtesy of EW.

In the film Mark Ruffalo takes on the lead role of Ned Weeks, who in the early 80s is one of the first people to raise an alarm about the new disease that initially was known as ‘Gay Cancer’, but which later was called HIV/AIDS. Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he previously took in a 2011 Broadway revival of the play.

Julia Roberts is Emma Brookner, a doctor who is the only one of her peers in New York taking AIDS seriously. Matt Bomer is Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Ned’s lover. Jonathan Groff is playing an early victim of the disease called Craig, whose boyfriend, Taylor Kitsch, starts off as a closeted investment banker but eventually becomes an AIDS activist.

Larry Kramer’s play is considered one of the most important reactions to the early AIDS epidemic, written by someone who has on the front lines of the fight, such as co-founding Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP. He later wrote a follow-up, The Destiny Of Me.

The rest of the world should get to see The Normal Heart shortly after its US HBO debut on May 25th. [Read more...]

The Normal Heart Teaser Trailer – Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and co. take on Larry Kramer’s classic play


After several years in development, The Normal Heart is finally on its way, with Glee’s Ryan Murphy directing an all-star cast for a film that will first air on HBO in the US on May 25th. It looks like it’s gonna be pretty good, with the movie bringing out the fear and confusion present in Larry Kramer’s classic play about the early days of AIDS, before those affected decide to fight back against a system that is almost as afraid of the type of people often affected by HIV as it is of the disease itself.

Mark Ruffalo takes on the lead role of Ned Weeks, who in the early 80s is one of the first people to raise an alarm about the new disease that initially was known as ‘Gay Cancer’, but which later was called HIV/AIDS. Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be gay activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he previously took in a 2011 Broadway revival of the play.

Julia Roberts is Emma Brookner, a doctor who is the only one of her peers in New York taking AIDS seriously. Matt Bomer is Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Ned’s lover. Jonathan Groff is playing an early victim of the disease called Craig, whose boyfriend, Taylor Kitsch, starts off as a closeted investment banker but eventually becomes an AIDS activist.

Larry Kramer’s play is considered one of the most important reactions to the early AIDS epidemic, written by someone who has on the front lines of the fight, such as co-founding Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP. He later wrote a follow-up, The Destiny Of Me.

The rest of the world should get to see The Normal Heart shortly after its US HBO debut. [Read more...]

Taylor Kitsch Talks Learning About The AIDS Epidemic For The Normal Heart

Taylor Kitsch shirtless

Taylor Kitsch

Yesterday we posted the first very brief footage from the HBO TV movie, The Normal Heart, based on Larry Kramer’s acclaimed play about the early days of the AID epidemic in New York.

Now one of the film’s stars, Taylor Kitsch, has been talking about how it wasn’t just an acting challenge for him, but also a learning one, as before the movie he knew very little about AIDS in the 1980s.

When asked by Vulture, ‘So how did The Normal Heart stretch you?’, he answered: “I mean, look: I was born in ’81. I had no idea about the whole AIDS epidemic. I’m straight, and playing a gay guy who’s leading a double life, who’s still in the closet, who’s losing his lovers, who has AIDS but won’t admit it to himself, who ends up dying … I mean, where do you want to start? F–k me, dude. It’s insane. The body type, the fact that he works at Citibank, very high up on Wall Street, so learning that part of it and reading an insane amount of books about guys who were leading those kinds of lives, learning about AZT and where it started … I knew probably the surface stuff, but what I learned for this, the education I got, that was another great tool.”

The Normal Heart, which also stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Jonathan Groff, will screen next May (TBC) on HBO.

New Lone Survivor Trailer – Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster & Taylor Kitsch turn Navy Seals


Lone Survivor is already building a bit of Oscar buzz, and it’ll be interesting to see whether it can build that in the run up to Awards season.

The movie is based on a failed 2005 mission, Operation Red Wing, which tasked four members of SEAL Team 10 (Wahlberg, Hirsch, Foster, Kitsch) to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. However they were quickly compromised and came under attack. As the title suggests, it didn’t go well. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Alexander Ludwig.

Universal have slotted it in for a prime Oscar push, with a limited US release around Christmas before it goes wide next January. Take a look at the new trailer below. [Read more...]

Lone Survivor Trailer – Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch & Taylor Kitsch are under fire in Afghanistan


Lone Survivor looks like it might be an interesting one and Universal obviously agree, as they slotted it in for a prime Oscar push, with a limited US release around Christmas before it goes wide next January. Now we get our first look at the Peter Berg movie, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Alexander Ludwig.

The movie is based on a failed 2005 mission, Operation Red Wing, which tasked four members of SEAL Team 10 (Wahlberg, Hirsch, Foster, Kitsch) to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. However they were quickly compromised and came under attack. As the title suggests, it didn’t go well.

Take a look at the trailer below. [Read more...]