'The Normal Heart' brings early days of AIDS to U.S. living rooms

Thu May 22, 2014 1:05pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK(Reuters) - Mark Ruffalo was puzzled when he was recruited to play Ned Weeks, a thinly fictionalized character based on AIDS activist Larry Kramer in the HBO film adaptation of Kramer's Tony award-winning play "The Normal Heart."

"I was like: 'Me?' " said Ruffalo. The actor, who often plays sensitive roles in films such as "The Kids Are All Right," asked director Ryan Murphy, "Shouldn't a gay person be playing Ned Weeks at this point in time? Aren't we there yet?"

Murphy told him he was "missing the point," that "the whole meaning of this movie" was that it did not matter whether a gay actor plays Kramer.

"He was much more evolved on that than I was," Ruffalo said.


Producer Ryan Murphy (L) and cast member Mark Ruffalo attend the premiere of "The Normal Heart" in New York May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly