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Taylor Kitsch Describes Intense 'Normal Heart' Shoots with Mark Ruffalo: LISTEN

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Taylor Kitsch--the former Friday Night Lights heartthrob who burned up the screen to different, more tragic effect in HBO's recent film adaptation of The Normal Heart--appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's SiriusXM Progress to discuss the intensity of the filming process and his character, Bruce Niles.

In the film Niles, a mostly-closeted lawyer, is elected the first president of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, much to Ned's (Mark Ruffalo) chagrin. Kitsch talked at length about his scenes with Ruffalo and the intensity of their arguments.

HuffPost reports:

"I have a lot of intense scenes with Ruffalo in which he’s literally trying to make me come out on camera — which is devastating to Bruce. So in between takes we’d be like, ‘You know what, we no doubt have the same goal here, but our approach is incredibly different.’...There’s takes where both of us are crying just standing there. And then there’s takes where, just, I couldn’t be angrier. It was an incredible process to go through with Ruffalo."

Though Kitsch may have relished some scenes, he also commented on the emotionally draining difficulty of others, such as a memorable moment when he is forced to put his dead lover into trash bags and take him out back to a hospital alley.

“I think it kind of encompasses that insecurity in what people do or how they react to fear of the unknown,” he said, referring to a time of heightened media hysteria around AIDS. “And that happened, which is even scarier. Paying someone to put them in a garbage bag. It’s so inhumane on so many levels. It was just — that was the one scene I just wasn’t a big fan of doing a lot of takes of. And [director Ryan Murphy] knew that as well. And yeah, we didn’t do a lot of takes. We didn’t need many. It was something you kind of try to forget that is just scarred in your memory.”

Of course, many who are praising the film, including our own Nathaniel Rogers, appreciate it precisely because of unforgettable scenes like these. It has brought the visceral realities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic into the modern moment. 

You can still check out The Normal Heart on HBO GO

And listen to Kitsch discuss the film, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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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Ellen Pays Tribute to Taylor Kitsch’s Shirtless Career: VIDEO

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Actor Taylor Kitsch stopped by Ellen on Friday to plug his upcoming films The Grand Seduction and The Normal Heart and while there, Ellen did us all a favor and showed a montage of Kitsch's greatest shirtless contributions to cinema.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP… 

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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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Taylor Kitsch Talks 'The Normal Heart'

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Taylor Kitsch spoke about his role as Bruce Niles in The Normal Heart with NY Mag's Vulture.

Ryan Murphy has a real knack for casting against type and letting actors do what they normally haven't gotten to before. Did you feel that here, like you were doing something new?

[Exhales loudly.] On every level. But being out of your comfort zone is why you become an actor. You try to stretch yourself as much as you can.

So how did The Normal Heart stretch you?

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.

And something that can hopefully build on what Dallas Buyers Club is doing right now.

That's a great film, and McConaughey just knocked it the fuck out. [The Normal Heart] will really put you there. It's a bit more aggressive look into that world.

You can see Kitsch and his blond hair for a very brief moment in THIS promo for HBO's new season.


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