Ryan Murphy: Why I burned to do 'The Normal Heart'

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
May 16 2014 16:21 pm
See Daniel's
Oct 08 2015 16:47 pm
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"It was a more personal project for me," says Ryan Murphy of directing HBO's "The Normal Heart," based on the play by Larry Kramer. "I was 15 in 1981 [when the AIDS outbreak began]; I grew up always linking intimacy and death … and I don't think I would have the civil rights I have today without Larry Kramer – I'm married and I have a kid – so I feel very impassioned about that."

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"The Normal Heart" chronicles the early years of the AIDS crisis, when gay New Yorkers fought against indifferent policy-makers for much-needed medical and political intervention. The stage version was revived on Broadway in 2011, winning Best Play Revival, and Murphy worked with Kramer on the screen adaptation for three years. "I learned a lot about everything from Larry: when to fight, when not to fight," said Murphy about the 78-year-old playwright. "He's very fearless, and more than that, his work ethic is amazing."

"The Normal Heart" leads our Emmy predictions for Best TV Movie, getting 8/5 odds. It premieres Sunday, May 25, on HBO.

Will 'Normal Heart' sweep Emmys? Click here to discuss in our forums

Below, watch our chat with Murphy, who is also an avowed fan of Gold Derby, then watch the film's stars Jonathan Groff and Matt Bomer discuss their roles, and make your Emmy predictions:

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Oscars: Play Gay + Die = Win

William Hurt ("Kiss of the Spider Woman"), Best Actor, 1985

Gay roles can win Oscars, but only if portrayed by straight actors who die hideous deaths. In Kiss of the Spider Woman," William Hurt is shot and his body is hurled into a dumpster.

William Hurt ('Kiss of the Spider Woman'), Best Actor, 1985
Tom Hanks ('Philadelphia'), Best Actor, 1993
Sean Penn ('Milk'), Best Actor, 2008
Charlize Theron ('Monster'), Best Actress, 2003
Hilary Swank ('Boys Don't Cry'), Best Actress, 1999
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Colin Firth loses
Christopher Plummer ('Beginners'), Best Supporting Actor of 2011
A monstrous loss
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