Having conquered television with “Glee,” it looks like the show’s creator Ryan Murphy is gunning for equal big screen success, and he’s assembled a helluva cast to bring the Tony award-winning, criticially acclaimed “The Normal Heart” to the big screen. Already in the works with Mark Ruffalo attached way back in the summer of 2010, the project picked up more steam when Brad Pitt took it under the wing of his Plan B shingle last year. And now it has brought some major talent on board.
Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons have all joined the AIDS drama, based on Larry Kramer‘s semi-biographical play, that centers on activist Ned Weeks (Ruffalo) and his attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the 1980s. Roberts re-teams with Murphy following “Eat Pray Love” (they also have another rom-com in development), taking the role of the wheelchair-bound doctor Emma Brookner, one of the few in the industry who takes the new disease seriously. Bomer plays the role of Felix Turner, Weeks’ fashion designer boyfriend who contracts the diease. Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey respectively won Tony awards for playing those parts on the stage. Meanwhile, Baldwin will play Weeks’ brother, who is a lawyer struggling to accept his brother’s sexual orientation. Finally, Parsons will reprise his Broadway turn as a Southern gay rights activist. So yeah, this one has Oscar written all over it.
No word yet on when it might shoot, but we presume if it’s casting up now, a spring start could be in the works (once Parsons and Baldwin wrap their duties on “The Big Bang Theory” and “30 Rock“). Could we see it before the end of the year? Let’s hope so. This is a solid cast, a great piece of material, and it looks like it’s coming together with a strong crop of talent.