HBO News Blog

What We Know About…HBO Films: THE NORMAL HEART

By Jef Dinsmore on Oct 29, 2013 to HBO Films

normalheart_logoI have planned a few posts in the coming weeks to touch base with HBO productions that we have mentioned but seem to need a cohesive piece to tie all the facts together before they premiere. Before we get to a couple of series I single out Ryan Murphy’s upcoming HBO Films presentation THE NORMAL HEART.

  Production Company:  Plan B Entertainment is an American company founded by Brad Pitt, Brad Grey and Jennifer Aniston. In 2006, Pitt became the sole owner. Recent productions have included World War Z and 12 Years a Slave.   

 Written By: Larry Kramer who wrote the Broadway play, The Normal Heart, from which this film is based created the film script as well.   

 Directed bNormalHeart_ruffaloy: Ryan Murphy, the show-runner behind Nip/Tuck, The New Normal, Glee, American Horror Story: and another upcoming HBO work OPEN, is behind the camera for this film.

 Executive Producers: Dante Di Loreto (producer for Glee); Dede Gardner (producer for World War Z & president of Plan B); Jason Blum (producer of The Reader) and Ryan Murphy.  

Cast: Mark Ruffalo  (pictured at left) as Ned Weeks; Julia Roberts as Dr. Emma Brookner; Matt Bomer  (pictured at right) as Felix Turner; Taylor Kitsch as Bruce Niles; Jim Parsons as Tommy Boatwright; Alex Baldwin as Ben Weeks; Jonathan Groff as Craig Donner; Joe Mantello as Mickey Marcus; Alfred Molina, Denis O’Hare and Joel Grey.

Details: Portions of the following are from an HBO press release –

THE NORMAL HEART tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city in denial.

Julia Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS. MaNormalheart_Bomerrk Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand the 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. Jim Parsons will play gay activist Tommy Boatwright, the role which he portrayed in the 2011 Broadway revival and Taylor Kitsch  (pictured in character) plays Bruce Niles, described as “a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist.”

Production began in New York, NY on 06.09.13 and filmed at various locations around the city. Matt Bomer mentions in this link that he doesn’t end filming until 11.13.13, right before Thanksgiving.

Ordered: Ryan Murphy announced in 08.11 that he would spearhead a TV- movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s work.

Status: As the prior details indicate this HBO Films presentation could be “in the can” by Thanksgiving and move into Post-Production.

NormalHeart_KitschPremiere Date: This is pure speculation as there has been no official announcement but I speculate that THE NORMAL HEART will air in the first quarter of 2014 after HBO’s winter series get underway right after the New Year. This film may debut in February or March.

HBOWatch Links: HBOWatch first got this work on our radar back in November of 2012 with this  Development Slate post.  Cast members started to be announced by this  January 2013 post. Still  more cast  signs onto this large-cast film in March as Murphy also announces an HBO series called OPEN as well. In the  05.09.13 post the production announced that filming would begin in June.  

 In Conclusion: With about five months of filming taking this production into November it should be wrapping up soon. The latest buzz is that it will premiere in early 2014. Again, we are speculating it will premiere in February or March of next year.

In future posts of this style (What We Know About…) we will look at the very least at TRUE DETECTIVE & LOOKING. For now we ask if you are interested in Ryan Murphy working with HBO and THE NORMAL HEART.

  • Paula

    The limited run of the The Normal Heart revival on Broadway was one of the most powerfully written and acted plays I have had the privilege to see.
    I am surprised there has not been more press on this one….it will be a sleeper that will blow the television world out of the water. I can’t wait!!

    • Jef Dinsmore

      That is what I said about Tony Kushner’s ANGELS IN AMERICA. If you haven’t seen that HBO Films presentation I suggest you do.

  • mwilson21

    This hadn’t really been on my radar at all, and even though I’m not all that familiar with Ryan Murphy’s TV shows (other than this current season of American Horror Story, I guess; if he’s still involved at all), the cast and the premise are more than enough to pique my interest. Looking forward to this one.

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