HBO's groundbreaking film The Normal Heart received 16 Emmy nominations today, including one for Mark Ruffalo for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance as Ned Weeks. According to Out magazine, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Alfred Molina, and Joe Mantello have also been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie and Julia Roberts has been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.
The movie, which premiered on HBO May 25, follows a group of gay activists and medical allies as they attempt to expose the truth about the AIDS epidemic terrorizing the gay community in the early 1980s. Larry Kramer originally wrote The Normal Heart as a play in 1985.
It was also in 1985 that Barbra Streisand bought the movie rights for The Normal Heart, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 1995, after 10 years of inactivity, Kramer took the rights back to the play angerily telling Streisand that she did not have “quite the same burning passion to make it as you always claim.”
“When I saw The Normal Heart in 1985 I was very moved and immediately contacted Larry to acquire the rights,” Streisand told The Hollywood Reporter. “After going through several drafts with Larry in my director capacity, I hired another writer to develop a screenplay that was faithful to Larry's play — but adapting it to make it more cinematic. It was finished in 1995.”
According to Streisand, money was the issue that prevented the movie from being produced sooner. While HBO was willing to offer Kramer $250,000, Streisand says Kramer refused to take anything under $1 million.
Once director Ryan Murphy and Ruffalo came on board three years ago, everything fell into place. The filmmakers stayed true to what Kramer had envisioned, as well.
“Once I heard that Larry was happy with it, I felt that was everything to me; I think that was everything to all of us who worked on this,” Matt Bomer told HIV Plus earlier this year. “So I breathed a sigh of relief and just said a prayer of thanks. You don’t want to tell someone’s story and have them not be happy about it.”
Almost 30 years after it was written, the film adaptation of Kramer’s The Normal Heart has aired nationwide and garnered numerous Emmy nominations. Check out the rest of the nominations Emmys.com.
Read our cover interview with Matt Bomer in the May/June 2014 issue of HIV Plus. Or watch this clip trailer from the movie (done by a gay fan, rather than HBO) which reminds viewers that there isn't a single scene in the film without a gay or bi person in it.