Obama Reacts to "Normal Heart" Film With Call to Ryan Murphy

News   Obama Reacts to "Normal Heart" Film With Call to Ryan Murphy
Count President Barack Obama among those deeply affected by Ryan Murphy's film adaptation of Larry Kramer's landmark AIDS drama The Normal Heart. Deadline.com reports that the President phoned Murphy June 9 to praise the film.

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo Photo by Photo by Jojo Whilden/HBO

The film premiered May 25 on HBO starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons. Directed by Emmy winner Murphy (“American Horror Story,” “Glee”), Kramer adapted his landmark stage production for the screen.

"The whole movie is about Larry trying to get the attention of Washington and 30 years later, to get a call from the President is a full-circle moment," Murphy told Deadline.com.

"The Normal Heart" will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 26.

Read: A Normal Heart Viewing Party: Two Generations of Gay Men Watch the Past Turn Into the Future on HBO

Academy Award winner Roberts is cast as Dr. Emma Brookner, with Bomer as Felix Turner, Ruffalo as Ned Weeks, Taylor Kitsch as Bruce Niles, and Parsons reprising the role of Tommy Boatwright that he played on Broadway. Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who portrayed Ned Weeks in the 2011 Broadway premiere of Kramer's play, plays Mickey Marcus. Read: Normal Heart's Jim Parsons on Coming Out and Why Larry Kramer Scared the Hell Out of Him

The cast also features Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening), Stephen Spinella (Angels in America), Normal Heart Broadway co-director Joel Grey (Cabaret), Denis O'Hare (Take Me Out), BD Wong (M. Butterfly), Alfred Molina (Red), Corey Stoll (A View from the Bridge) and Finn Wittrock (Death of a Salesman).

Accoding to HBO: "Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright... Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.

"Molina plays Ned’s older brother, Ben, who is a successful attorney. Mantello plays Mickey Marcus, who is an instrumental member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Groff plays Craig, Bruce’s lover, an early victim of HIV-AIDS. O’Hare portrays Hiram Keebler, Mayor Koch's gay aide. Spinella plays Sanford, one of Dr. Brookner’s first patients. Stoll portrays presidential senior advisor John Bower. Wittrock plays Albert, a male model. Wong portrays Buzzy, a nurse who works with Dr. Brookner."

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."

The creative team for the film includes production designer Shane Valentino, director of photography Danny Moder, editor Adam Penn, costume designer Daniel Orlandi and composer Cliff Martinez.

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.

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