Mantello portrayed Ned Weeks in the 2011 Broadway premiere of Kramer's 1985 play that documents the dawn of the AIDS crisis in New York City. Mantello will appear as Mickey Marcus, with the previously announced Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks.
Mantello is represented on Broadway this season as the director of the one-woman Bette Midler play, I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. His numerous directorial credits include The Other Place, Other Desert Cities, Dogfight, Assassins, Wicked and Three Days of Rain.
Directed by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy (“Eat Pray Love,” “Glee”), the film is scheduled to begin production in New York City in June for a 2014 debut on HBO. Kramer has adapted his play for the upcoming film.
Academy Award winner Julia Roberts is cast as Dr. Emma Brookner, with Matt Bomer as Felix Turner, Taylor Kitsch as AIDS activist Bruce Niles, and Jim Parsons reprising the role of Tommy Boatwright that he played on Broadway.
Executive produced by Murphy, Jason Blum, Dede Gardner and Dante Di Loreto, " The Normal Heart," according to press notes, "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."
Kramer’s play debuted at New York’s Public Theater in 1985. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.