HBO announced today that Ryan Murphy's TV movie adaptation of The Normal Heart is officially scheduled to air in 2014, with production set to start later this year.
The Glee and American Horror Story mastermind announced almost a year ago that he'd be reteaming with Julia Roberts, whom he directed in 2010's Eat Pray Love, for the adaptation of Larry Kramer's 1985 play about the onset of the AIDS crisis in New York City in the early '80s. The project was originally intended for theatrical release, but after unforeseen delays, Murphy signed a deal in November to bring Normal Heart to HBO. Roberts, who plays a disabled physician who treats the very first AIDS patients, Mark Ruffalo, who plays a gay activist witnessing the early outbreak of the disease, and Matt Bomer, who plays the lover of Ruffalo's character, remained attached to the project despite its move to the small screen. Alec Baldwin, however, dropped out.
Barbra Streisand had originally optioned the play for a cinematic adaptation in the 1980s, but a series of disputes with Larry Kramer over money and rewrites caused Normal Heart to languish in development hell. Streisand and Kramer have publicly feuded for years, and in June 2012 the singer wrote on her website, "I think it’s unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay. Larry had the rights for the last 15 years and he couldn’t get it made either. Those are the facts, and none of this is news to Larry."
Murphy acquired the rights from Kramer after The Normal Heart's critically acclaimed Broadway revival, starring Roberts, Ruffalo, and Baldwin. That version earned five Tony nominations including for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor, and Best Featured Actress.
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