After more than 20 years of trying to get it made, The Normal Heart finally made it to screens last summer to huge acclaim, going on to win two Emmys and score three Golden Globe Nominations. It also scored a large enough audience that HBO backed Larry Kramer to adapt his follow-up, the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Destiny Of Me, for the network, with Ryan Murphy set to direct.
Now he’s been talking to Variety about it, saying, “I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first pass. It starts around the end of ‘The Normal Heart’ in 1984. And it goes [through to] the appearance of the first drugs around 2001. Mark Ruffalo, who we hope will repeat his performance, will have to play Ned at a few times in his life: at the time of ‘The Normal Heart’; in the middle where he gets sick; and today.”
Ruffalo isn’t the only actor he hopes will be back, as he adds, “The part of Tommy, which I hope will be played again by Jim Parsons, is much bigger. He becomes a more important character in the sequel, as he was in my real life.”
The same is true of Julia Roberts, with Kramer commenting that, “In the sequel, the part of the doctor is quite dramatic in that her polio returns and she has to go into an iron lung, and she conducts business from the hospital.”
Many had wondered what the notoriously difficult to please Kramer would think of The Normal Heart film, but he was delighted with the results, saying of the first time he saw it, “I was brought in from the hospital in a wheelchair to an HBO screening room to watch the final version. It was an experience more surreal than anything else. I wasn’t able to really take in the magnitude of Ryan’s achievement… I’ve been very happy. I thought the cast was superb, and HBO has got to be the most wonderful producers in the world.”
However while he notes that gay people are represented on TV more, he still feels there’s a long way to go for LGBT people, saying, “I don’t see what I want to see. We’re still a population of people tragically unrepresented by power. We are very disorganized in terms of power in Washington, our ability to lobby, our ability to get what we’re entitled to and the few organizations that we have are not strong enough. We still don’t fight hard enough and we’re still denied so much in terms of equality. Marriage, that goal will probably happen, I guess. But everybody has been concentrating on marriage at the expense of other issues—certainly health care, insurance and AIDS, which is still very prevalent in the gay world. Sadly, the drugs that have come along to control HIV have sent a lot of people back into living the kind of life that got us in trouble in the first place.”