|Photo by Joseph Marzullo|
The gifted young actor, who has also impressed in New York productions of The Singing Forest, The Submission and the outdoor Public Theater staging of Hair, has landed roles in both the made-for-HBO film version of Larry Kramer's landmark AIDS drama The Normal Heart and an untitled comedy series about four gay friends, also for the award-winning cable network.
Filming for HBO's "The Normal Heart," which features direction by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy ("Glee") and a screenplay adapted by playwright Kramer, began last month in Fire Island. Groff plays Craig, who is the first in a group of friends to die from the then-unnamed disease at the dawn of the AIDS crisis. Groff, who spoke with Playbill.com towards the end of June, said the first week of filming was "kind of amazing. The play is so sad and intense, but the beginning of [the film] takes place on Fire Island, just as the disease is starting to hit, and so we got to shoot all of the fun stuff this week, like the Fire Island party time. It was a moment of levity, and it was a blast. I've never been on Fire Island before. ... It was so beautiful. We were in the Pines, and they're shooting in places that have never been shot at before."
The made-for-TV film boasts a starry cast led by Academy Award winner Julia Roberts as Dr. Emma Brookner, Mark Ruffalo as the protagonist Ned Weeks, Matt Bomer as Felix Turner, Taylor Kitsch as AIDS activist Bruce Niles, Emmy winner Jim Parsons as Tommy Boatwright (reprising the role he played on Broadway) and Tony winner Joe Mantello, who played Weeks on Broadway, as Mickey Marcus.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
"It's an incredible cast," Groff enthused. "I'm just so proud to be a part of that piece. I saw the play at the Public when it was there like ten years ago with Raul Esparza and was blown away by that. And, I saw it again this last time around when it was on Broadway and just cried through the whole thing — so powerful. I hope that the movie turns out great, but I think that it certainly has all of the right ingredients. And, everybody working on it is very passionate.
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