Until recently it seemed that only straight actors would play gay in high profile projects (that’s if anyone would play gay at all), in fear of getting typecast, but for The Normal Heart, Ryan Murphy has managed to put together a strong mix of straight and gay actors to take on Larry Kramer’s play about the early days of the AIDS crisis.
On the gay side the HBO film already has Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons, with straight actors such as Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch and Mark Ruffalo also signing up. Now the gays can add one more, as Glee and Broadway star (and Zachary Quinto’s boyfriend) Jonathan Groff has joined the cast, according to EW.
Groff will play an early victim of the disease called Craig, whose boyfriend will be Taylor Kitsch, a character who starts off as a closeted investment banker but eventually becomes an AIDS activist.
Ruffalo is taking on the lead role of Ned Weeks, one of the first people to raise an alarm about the new disease that initially was known as ‘Gay Cancer’. 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 will play Emma Brookner, a wheelchair bound doctor who is the only one of her peers in New York taking AIDS seriously. Matthew Bomer is set for Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Ned’s lover.
HBO is backing the movie, which should shoot later this year for release in 2014. Indeed Groff will be hoping to spend a lot of time on HBO next year, as he’s also shot a pilot for a show about a group of gay friends in San Francisco. As yet it hasn’t been picked up to become a series, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.