Captures from the interview will follow tomorrow as they’ve been donated to us by my friend Brianne.
The HBO film takes 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 and nation in denial. This subject matter couldn’t be more relevant with the recent drafting of the first openly gay NFL player Michael Sam. This moment not only showed how far we have come as a society, but still how far we have to go.
On May 12, HBO hosted the New York premiere of its film “The Normal Heart,” which is an adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play of the same name. The play is loosely based on Kramer’s life. AIDS was not a “gay” problem as people tried to assert at the time and since 1981 about 36 Million people have died from the disease. There is still no cure.
We spoke with actor Taylor Kitsch on the red carpet, check out what he had to say below:
Q: Can you tell us about the first time you read the script?
Taylor: I was in my living room in Austin, Texas and my manager called me, and she was like, “Stop what you’re doing. Read this now cause we got to hurry if we want this role, we’re fighting right away.” And then halfway through the script I stopped reading called, got them all on the phone and said, “Let’s fight for it.” And then I finished the script and called him back and there we go. Here we are.
Q: What drew you into the role?
Taylor: The story, the character, being scared, the risk. I love all that stuff. Obviously the cast, it’s self-explanatory. I just felt I could breathe life into this guy and do this story justice as an actor and I knew I was gonna grow up through this process.
Q: Are you excited for people to see a different side of you?
Taylor: Sure. I am. You know, you’re proud of you work and we put in God knows how much energy and hours into it. I just hope they’re taken by not just my work, but everyone’s.
Q: What do you say to the generation that missed the rise of the epidemic 1980’s? What do you hope the main takeaway is?
Taylor: It’s still relevant. It’s still a global issue and I think that’s something we can all pay attention to a little bit more. We’re all guilty of being in our own little bubbles and especially with media now it’s like…we’re in the now and then it’s on to the next thing 10 seconds later. We’ve kind of been numb to it all and I think this story will hopefully square you away for the two hours and make you pay attention with the fight and be heard.
Q: How do you unwind after such a hard role?
Q: Can you speak about collaborating with Ryan Murphy?
Taylor: I loved it. I flew in from reading the script … I think it was the next day or a couple days later and we had an amazing first meeting. Fly back to Texas and then we’re just…I mean, silly long e-mail after e-mail of just vision from aesthetic to tone to everything.
Q: What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot?
Taylor: It wasn’t like one difficult one. The montage at the end wasn’t fun I’ll tell you that much. The plane scene isn’t fun to do. Just that it’s real and it happened, I think that’s what squares you away cause I’m just recreating something that unfortunately happened. It’s pretty tragic.
Q: How much input did you have in your character?
Taylor: A lot. I mean, even reading it I had a very strong ordeal of where I wanted to go with it. So it was more of just like this is how I feel and that just leads to conviction, which is everything as an actor.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mouza from Teen Wolf Daily attended a convention that Taylor was partaking in. We have a video of Taylor thanking us for our support that she recorded which was such a pleasant surprise! Thank you Mouza for taking the time to do this for us!
Even as Larry Kramer, the lifelong gay activist, worked with producer and director Ryan Murphy on the HBO adaptation of Kramer’s 1985 play The Normal Heart, which premieres May 25, Kramer kept asking the question: Why did it take so long? Why, he lamented, did it take so long to make the play into a film?
For Kramer, now 78, The Normal Heart — set in the early, terrifying days of AIDS when gay men in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles were dying of mysterious and rare diseases like Kaposi’s sarcoma — was always more than just a play. Its plot told of how Ned Weeks, Kramer’s alter ego, rallied then alienated his fellow gay activists who banded together in the battle against AIDS. It also served as a furious denunciation of the institutions — from The New York Times to the New York mayor’s office to the federal government — that Kramer blamed for initially ignoring the escalating epidemic; it was an urgent call for gay men to fight back to save their lives; and, nearly 30 years before the Supreme Court opened the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, it envisioned a world in which two gay men could wed.
But despite the support of high-profile directors and actors — at various times Barbra Streisand, John Schlesinger, Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes have been attached or interested — for nearly three decades the film adaptation remained in limbo. In part, it fell victim to Hollywood’s timidity about telling gay stories in general and AIDS dramas in particular — and Kramer’s play is a fiercely, explicitly polemical work. “Way back then, it just felt like an incredibly depressing tale that looked as if it would appeal only to a narrow demographic corridor,” says one source familiar with the project’s history. “It was viewed as a major downbeat story that didn’t seem to have any wide appeal.” And, too, Kramer never was the easiest collaborator. In 2012, recounting the years he and Streisand put into trying to make a movie version, Kramer accused her of lacking “the burning passion to make it,” a charge she resoundingly rejects. “It was hard for me to be attacked like that by Larry. I worked for so many years on it without ever taking a penny,” Streisand told THR recently. “I will always believe in Larry’s play and its powerful theme of everyone’s right to love.”
And so the property languished until Murphy, who’d broken ground by injecting gay storylines into his TV series Glee and The New Normal, came along in 2009. After winning Kramer’s trust, he sold the project to HBO with a blue-chip cast, including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch. “Larry had his heart broken so many times,” says Murphy, “I promised him I would not stop until it got made.”
Read the rest of this entry »