Ryan Murphy: Why I burned to do ‘The Normal Heart’

“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 Heartchronicles 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.

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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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