In a lengthy interview, Murphy told Deadline.com, "'The Normal Heart' is the thing that I’m going to do next. I optioned it and there's a brilliant script that Larry Kramer wrote and I’m going to do that with Mark Ruffalo and maybe [Julia] Roberts. I believe in that play." Ruffalo will play Ned Weeks, the hero of the drama about fear in the early days of the AIDS crisis. Tony winner Joe Mantello played that part in the recent Broadway production. Roberts would most likely play Dr. Emma Brookner, which won Ellen Barkin a Tony Award this past season.
"The story of a city in denial," The Normal Heart, according to press notes for the Broadway run, "unfolds like a real-life political thriller — as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. First produced by Joseph Papp at New York's Public Theater, the play was a critical sensation and a seminal moment in theater history. So ahead of its time was this play that many of the core issues it addresses — including gay marriage, the healthcare system and, of course, AIDS — are just as relevant today as they were when it first premiered."
Murphy also told Deadline.com that he will not be involved in the upcoming film remake of the Tony-winning musical Annie: "They are doing a movie version and I loved the idea that Jay Z was going to do the music. I met with Jay and talked to him about it. I wanted to write the script and direct it. And then 'American Horror' got picked up. Willow [Smith] is a certain age and you need a script by November. I didn’t think I could do it. So now she's got Emma Thompson who is 50 million times better than me. LOVE HER. I wish I could have had the time to do it. The thing that was the biggest turn on for me was Jay. We talked about how we were going to set it in Detroit. I love him and Beyonce. I think they’re amazing."