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Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer: PHOTO

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A stunning portrait of the 'Normal Heart' couple by Robert Maxwell for 'W' magazine. Click to enlarge.


Weekend Movies (on TV): 'The Normal Heart'

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Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer find love in a hopeless place in "The Normal Heart"

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

It's time for that other most-famous AIDS play to have its moment in the television sun. Larry Kramer's "THE NORMAL HEART," arrived Off Broadway in 1985, a half decade or so before Tony Kushner's long since canonized "Angels in America," but it's taken a longer and more circuitous route to mainstream fame. It's HBO to the rescue again with a television adaptation, which, as with the fate of Angels, came on the heels of a long gestating but never-meant-to-be movie version. (Barbra Streisand tried for years to mount a film version of The Normal Heart giving herself the plum role of Emma Brookner a.k.a. 'Doctor Death')

Though it rarely does Kramer's 'Heart' any favors to compare it to the later masterwork, it's hard not to. They're linked in time structure, setting, historical record, and now in HBO incarnations. Think of The Normal Heart as Angels in America's angrier cruder earth-bound cousin. It doesn't bother with symbolism, poetry or spirituality - whether that's through lack of ability, desire, or bilious rejection of the escapist side of the fantastical who can say? Instead, it finds its power in fragile bodies and righteous rage in the face of mundane defeats and every day humiliations.

Which is why it's a little surprising at first to begin with the elemental: the open air, the sun and a glide over the water (supertitle: "1981") as we head to Fire Island.

More, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Mark Ruffalo Reveals His Initial Concerns Over Taking on a Gay Role in ‘The Normal Heart’

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In an interview with co-star Julia Roberts for Interview magazine, Mark Ruffalo revealed he was initially hesitant about his participation in HBO’s upcoming film The Normal Heart - believing that the role of Ned Weeks was too politically important for a straight actor to play.

Said Ruffalo:

“I'd heard about [director Ryan Murphy] and I was a little nervous about saying no without at least speaking to him, giving him the respect that he deserves. We met, and my thinking at the time was, ‘Aren't we at the place in our culture, in our development, where a gay man should be playing this part?’ That was kind of a concern for me. Politically speaking, it felt like that was the right thing for this play and for this movie at this time.”And Ryan said, very clearly, ‘That's the antithesis of what this movie is about. It doesn't matter what your sexual preference is. It matters what actor I think should play this part.’”

He added:

“[Ryan Murphy] was kind of ahead of me in his development. Here's this gay man in Hollywood, who could easily have had a political agenda, basically saying no. It also signalled what this movie was going to be. When it lived as a play, it was very political. It was a polemic. It was designed to agitate and to be very confrontational. But where Ryan was taking it, beyond the politics, really ignited me. I said yes!”

The Normal Heart premieres tomorrow on HBO and stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons. The film, an adaption of a play by Larry Kramer, chronicles the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City as seen through the eyes of an activist. 

You can check out three new clips and a featurette of the film here


Ryan Murphy On Filming Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer’s Sex Scenes in 'The Normal Heart' – AUDIO

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With the release of HBO’s upcoming adaption of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart right around the corner, director Ryan Murphy recently spoke with Michelangelo Signorile about the film - detailing some of the challenges that went into shooting the intense sex scenes between Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.

Ryan murphyMurphy said that both Bomer and Ruffalo had never dealt with that level of sexuality on camera before and were initially “terrified” of the shoot, despite Murphy bringing in a “sex choreographer” to help ease the actors’ tension.

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP

And head over to The Huffington Post to check out the full interview.

The Normal Heart stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons, and chronicles the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City as seen through the eyes of an activist. The film arrives May 25.  

Continue reading "Ryan Murphy On Filming Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer’s Sex Scenes in 'The Normal Heart' – AUDIO" »


Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons Talk 'The Normal Heart': VIDEO

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The cast of HBO's adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is starting to do publicity ahead of the film's may bow, and stars Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons took a few moments with The Hollywood Reporter this week for a cover story.

Here's one bit that stands out:

Even as Murphy filmed, the politics of gay rights and same-sex marriage were shifting in profound ways. On June 26, the cast and crew assembled on a set decked out to resemble the Paradise Garage, an early '80s Manhattan disco. Murphy was re-creating "April Showers," the first fundraiser held by Kramer and his friends.

A frail Kramer, his own health in question (he was too ill to be interviewed for this story), was visiting that day. Before Murphy called action on the first shot, an electric jolt ran through the set: The Supreme Court had just issued its landmark ruling in the case of United States v. Windsor, declaring that the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional.

Suddenly, the crowd erupted in celebration. Ebullient, screaming and cheering, the actors milled around Kramer, wanting to applaud, to hug him, to thank him for all he had contributed to the fight. The once-fiery Kramer summoned the strength to tell them, "Today's a triumph, but there's still a lot of work to be done." The moment, says Murphy, "was pretty historical and great." Seconds Taylor Kitsch, who plays a closeted gay politico, "We had a blast that day -- it was the kind of day where we recognized this is why we do what we do, to tell these kind of stories."

In addition to a longer interview, Kitsch also told an amusing story about a pair of vintage jeans he had to wear that needed to have the "crotch elongated", because you know...

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

LOL: Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons' faces at the 'crotch elongation' story.

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'The Normal Heart' Teaser Trailer Unearths the Panic, Grief, and Humanity of the Early Days of AIDS: VIDEO

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The film adaptation of Larry Kramer's largely autobiographical Tony award-winning (for its revival in 2011) play The Normal Heart is coming to HBO on May 25 and a new trailer debuted yesterday.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons, and chronicles the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City as seen through the eyes of an activist.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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