Julia Roberts Signs on for ‘Normal Heart’

Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons have all signed on to appear in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.” Mark Ruffalo will play Ned Weeks, the character Kramer based on himself. Ruffalo has been associated with the production for a while now.

“The Normal Heart” is Kramer’s autobiographical account of New York City during the early days of the AIDS crisis. It tells the story of his efforts with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis advocacy group to raise awareness of the disease. Weeks is eventually forced out of the group, and the play also explores his relationship with Felix Turner, and Felix’s battle with AIDS. Felix will be played in the film adaptation by “White Collar” star Matt Bomer.

“The Normal Heart” originally premiered off-Broadway in 1985 at the Public Theater, and also was later staged in Los Angeles and London. A Broadway revival premiered in 2011, and went on to win a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Ellen Barkin also won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Dr. Emma Brookner, a physician bound to a wheelchair who also becomes an activist for the disease. Roberts will play Brookner in the film adaptation. John Benjamin Hickey, playing Felix, won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

Baldwin will play Weeks brother, who is a lawyer that has a hard time excepting his brother’s sexuality. Parsons will play a Southern activist that is also part of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis group. Parsons played the same role in the Broadway play.

Murphy is known as the creator of both “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” and his last film was “Eat, Pray, Love,” which also starred Roberts. Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, will produce the film.