Glee, New Normal and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy has been trying to get his adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award winning play The Normal Heart off the ground for over a year.
However, even attaching names such as Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Matthew Bomer and Jim Parsons hasn’t been enough to get the funding he needed – until now that is. After months of rumours that HBO was looking at taking on the movie, it’s now been confirmed that the pay-TV network will produce the film and air it in 2014.
It’s not known if Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons (who also starred in a New York stage revival of the play) are still involved, but THR confirms that Julia Roberts and Matt Bomer are set to star, as is Mark Ruffalo.
The film is about the rise of AIDS in New York’s gay community in the early-to-mid 80s. The play first debuted off-Broadway in 1985, and has enjoyed several revivals in Los Angeles, New York and London. 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’.
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.
Murphy will direct, which will reunite him with Roberts after he helmed her in Eat Pray Love.
HBO seems to be trying to make itself the go-to place for high profile gay-themed projects. 2013 will see it air Behind The Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s biopic of Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his younger lover (Matt Damon), and now it’s following that with The Normal Heart.