The highly-anticipated film adaptation of Larry Kramer's Tony Award-winning play, The Normal Heart, will finally premiere on HBO this Sunday. The film stars Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, out actor Matt Bomer, Emmy winner and out actor Jim Parsons and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts. Directed by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy, the story follows several gay activists and their allies during the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s and their fight to expose the truth about the epidemic to a country who was still largely in denial.
Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a gay activist who wants answers after he begins to see the crisis affect his community first-hand and falls in love with reporter Felix Turner, played by Matt Bomer. Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright while Taylor Kitsch plays a closeted investment banker named Bruce Niles, who becomes an activist as well. Julia Roberts rounds out the cast as Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of polio who treats many of the earliest victims of the AIDS epidemic.
The original play opened Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in 1985 and was produced by Joseph Papp and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. More than two decades later, the play finally had a Broadway premiere in 2011, with a cast that included Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin, Jim Parsons (as the same character he plays in the film), Lee Pace and John Benjamin Hickey. The film won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, John Benjamin Hickey won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play and Ellen Barkin won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
The story of The Normal Heart is heavily based on playwright Kramer's own experiences as an LGBT activist and co-founder of AIDS advocacy group, ACT UP, which will be further explored in an upcoming HBO documentary. Tentatively titled Larry Kramer: In Love and Anger, the film is currently set to be released sometime in 2015.
Make sure to watch The Normal Heart on HBO this Sunday, May 25th at 9PM/8C. For more information about the film, go to HBO's official The Normal Heart webpage, and watch the film's trailer below!