Directed by Murphy (“Eat Pray Love,” “Glee”) and written by Kramer (“Women in Love”), the movie dramatizes the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s.
The film also stars Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll ), Finn Wittrock and BD Wong. An HBO Films presentation of a Plan B and Blumhouse production in association with Ryan Murphy Productions, “The Normal Heart” is executive produced by Murphy, Dante Di Loreto, Jason Blum, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner. Mark Ruffalo co-executive produces. Produced by Scott Ferguson, the film’s crew includes production designer Shane Valentino, director of photography Danny Moder, editor Adam Penn, costumer designer Daniel Orlandi, composer Cliff Martinez and casting directors Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Gelfond.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Taylor Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.
Alfred Molina plays Ned’s older brother, Ben, who is a successful attorney. Joe Mantello plays Mickey Marcus, who is an instrumental member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Jonathan Groff plays Craig, Bruce’s lover, an early victim of HIV-AIDS. Denis O’Hare portrays Hiram Keebler, Mayor Koch’s gay aide. Stephen Spinella plays Sanford, one of Dr. Brookner’s first patients. Corey Stoll portrays presidential senior advisor John Bower. Finn Wittrock plays Albert, a male model. BD Wong portrays Buzzy, a nurse who works with Dr. Brookner.
In 1981, writer Larry Kramer hosted a gathering to discuss the “gay cancer” and to talk about fundraising for research. This informal meeting lead to the formation of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care. Kramer’s play debuted at New York’s Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.