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04/19/2007


Barbra Streisand Speaks Out About Attempts To Get ‘The Normal Heart’ Made

6a00d8341c730253ef01538e5bc91f970b-250wiWith the HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart due out next month, Barbra Streisand is speaking out about charges leveled against her by Kramer, namely that she is to blame for a film version of the play not being made sooner, even going so far as to call her a ‘hypocrite’ on gay rights. Streisand told The Hollywood Reporter:

In the press, Larry kept speaking out against me. But I think it's unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay. Larry had the rights for the last 15 years and he couldn't get it made, either. Those are the facts.

In 2007, he sent me a note before giving the project to another director, asking me again if I wanted to direct it -- but only with his screenplay. As a filmmaker, I couldn't have my hands tied like that. What if I needed changes? Sadly, I turned his offer down and wished him well.

I will always believe in Larry's play and its powerful theme about everyone's right to love. It's been 28 years since I tried to get this piece made … so much has happened since. But I'm glad it's finally here. 

Kramer has previously accused Streisand of re-working the play to focus on the character of the doctor, whom she was originally set to play, marginalizing the gay characters. For her part, Streisand has said that Kramer’s script was not cinematic enough and refused to be tied down artistically by his draft. The HBO version, which stars Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, and Mark Ruffalo among others, was directed by Ryan Murphy and premieres May 25th.


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.

Kitsch

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


New Trailer for HBO's 'The Normal Heart': VIDEO

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A new trailer has arrived for HBO's adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart.

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.

The HBO film is directed by Ryan Murphy and arrives on May 25.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

You can check out an earlier trailer HERE.

Continue reading "New Trailer for HBO's 'The Normal Heart': VIDEO" »


Bomer, Kitsch, Parsons, Ruffalo, and Roberts Gather to Preview 'The Normal Heart'

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(image source)

The cast of The Normal Heart  — Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, and director Ryan Murphy — assembled at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena to preview the upcoming HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer's iconic play on Thursday.

The Hollywood Reporter has a good wrap-up of the Q&A event:

[Julia] Roberts, meanwhile, noted she'd been approached to play the part [of Dr. Emma Brookner, a polio survivor who treats several of the early victims of HIV/AIDS] before but turned it down because she couldn't understand just who the character was at her core. But when Murphy called, the actress watched a documentary on polio and it all came together, prompting her to join the production. "It unlocked the door to who this woman is to me and where her ferocious, relentless pursuit of correctness comes from," Roberts said. "It was such a beautiful experience to get to play her and get to pay tribute to a person who never let anything stand between her and the right thing to do for someone else."

Asked if it was a priority to cast openly gay actors in the project -- both Bomer and Parsons are out -- Murphy noted he went after the best actor, gay or straight. "We never went after anyone based on sexuality," he said, noting that the world has changed a lot in the past five years.

Parsons and Bomer, for their part, noted that they don't think of themselves as gay actors but rather just actors. "I was only anxious about when the conversation would happen," the Big Bang Theory star said. "Then it happened and it was out there, and it was no big deal -- and that was a relief."

The film debuts in May. Some of the first footage was released in an HBO promo in December. Hopefully we'll get a full trailer soon, as one was shown at TCA.


Taylor Kitsch Talks 'The Normal Heart'

Kitsch

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.


Jonathan Groff Talks Gay Sex and Death in 'Looking' and 'The Normal Heart'

Looking

Jonathan Groff is featured in this year's OUT100 and spills a few details about his roles in a highly-anticipated series and film, HBO's Looking and his part in the film adaptation of The Normal Heart.

GroffLooking,(the pilot is shot by Weekend director Andrew Haigh) looks set to contain the same type of realistic sex scenes as Haigh's indie film did, at least Groff hopes:

I have shot some sex scenes. The sex scenes in Weekend were beautiful and sexy—in addition to, and most importantly, feeling really authentic and real. So I hope that our sex scenes are sexy—and I think that they are—but I think even more than that what we’re trying to display is a reality of gay sex as opposed to the salaciousness of gay sex. We’re trying just to keep it real—which means humor. Some of our sex scenes are very emotional and very beautiful. Some of our sex scenes are awkward. We’re trying to get as close to reality as we possibly can. Hopefully, when people watch it, you’ll think, Oh, I’ve had that exact experience. I know what it feels like to be intimate with someone in that way.

Said Groff of The Normal Heart:

The first time I saw it was off-Broadway at the Public Theater starring Raul Esparza. I hysterically cried. I remember the scene with the milk, where they come home with the groceries. I read it a couple years later and I cried again. It’s such a visceral piece of material, whether you’re seeing it or reading it. It’s very intense. When I was on Glee, Ryan [Murphy] said, “You should read the script, because I want to find a place for you in it.” So I read it again, and I was devastated. I hope that the movie does it justice....The character I ended up playing in the movie is the first guy that died of AIDS, one of the guys in Larry Kramer’s circle of friends. He said that when this person died that it was right at the end of summer, and it happened so quickly that his body was still tan. It took him immediately. It was this huge punch in the stomach.


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