Eleven years ago, HBO Films released their extraordinary miniseries of Tony Kushner’s Tony Award and Pulitzer-winning play “Angels in America,” a story of heavenly visitors during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Now, HBO is tackling similar subject matter in an adaptation of another acclaimed play, Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.” The new teaser trailer only gives a quick glimpse at the upcoming film, but it already looks mightily impressive.
The story follows Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo), an activist struggling to bring awareness and action to the AIDS epidemic ravaging New York. Ned’s friend Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts), a wheelchair-bound polio survivor, encourages abstinence among gay men, but he wants to take action. He starts an organization with the closeted Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch), but his firebrand personality clashes with Niles’ more cautious approach. Ned also deals with his brother Ben (Alfred Molina), whose passive support suggests homophobia, and his lover Felix Turner (Matt Bomer), who shows signs of the virus.
The play was a success Off-Broadway in 1985, and its Broadway revival in 2011 won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Featured Actor (John Benjamin Hickey), and Best Featured Actress (Ellen Barkin). The film version is directed by Ryan Murphy, the creator of “Nip/Tuck,” “Glee” and “American Horror Story” and director of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Running with Scissors” — but Murphy’s work looks appropriately hard-hitting and frantic in the trailer.
The film, which also stars Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, Joe Mantello and Denis O’Hare, debuts on HBO May 25th. Watch the teaser below.