Matt Bomer gay drama The Normal Heart movie adaptation. The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s semi-autobiographical off-Broadway play about a New Yorker confronted with AIDS in the early years of the pandemic, has been a perennial "film project." In the last couple of decades, Oscar winners Barbra Streisand and John Schlesinger have at some point in time announced they were going to tackle it, but to date no film version of The Normal Heart has reached the production stages. [Photo: Matt Bomer.]
Now, enter Glee creator and film director Ryan Murphy (Running with Scissors, Eat Pray Love), who optioned the film rights to the play last summer following its Broadway revival success: The Normal Heart won Tonys for Best Revival, Best Supporting Actor (John Benjamin Hickey), and Best Supporting Actress (Ellen Barkin).
The Normal Heart movie cast: Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer
Murphy apparently hasn’t been sitting idly. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Normal Heart movie adaptation already has a cast: Eat Pray Love’s Julia Roberts (who’ll next be seen as the Evil Queen in Mirror Mirror), The Kids Are All Right’s Mark Ruffalo, Running with Scissors’ Alec Baldwin, White Collar’s Matt Bomer (shortly to be seen as a dancer/stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike), and The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, who was also featured in the recent Broadway revival.
Larry Kramer himself penned the screenplay, set during the time when Ronald Reagan was president, Ed Koch was the mayor of New York City, and the “gay disease” was a news topic for gays only.
Best known for his abrasive approach regarding gay-related issues, Kramer received an Academy Award nomination for adapting D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love to the screen. (Ken Russell directed.) Three years later, Kramer wrote another film adaptation, this time a musical version of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, not only one of the biggest box office disasters of the 1970s — perhaps one of the biggest box office disasters ever — but also considered by many one of the very worst films ever made. (Charles Jarrott directed.)
Matt Bomer: gay lover to Mark Ruffalo’s AIDS activist
Mark Ruffalo’s role in the Normal Heart movie-to-be is that of a gay-rights advocate who is one of the first people to notice the disease initially known as GRID (gay-related immune deficiency). Matt Bomer will play Ruffalo’s handsome lover and early AIDS victim. (At the movies, e.g., The Witnesses, Longtime Companion, the good-looking gays are usually the first to perish from contagious diseases.)
Additionally, Julia Roberts will play a wheelchair-bound doctor (the role that would have gone to Barbra Streisand); Alec Baldwin will be Ruffalo’s not all that gay-friendly older brother; and Jim Parsons will reprise his role as a Southern gay rights activist.
As per the Reporter, Participant Pictures "is circling" the project. Yet, it should be noted that so far no production starting date for the Normal Heart movie has been announced. And that Murphy has been rumored as the potential director of a variety of projects, among which is a film adaptation of the Broadway hit Wicked; a remake of another Broadway musical hit, Annie; and another remake yet, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The original cast of the off-Broadway The Normal Heart included Brad Davis as the New Yorker gay activist (the Midnight Express and Querelle star succumbed to AIDS in 1991), Concetta Tomei as the doctor, and D.W. Moffett as the gay lover who dies of AIDS.