Matt Bomer, who stars in White Collar (USA), will be playing the character of Felix Turner in the film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart. Originally penned in the early 1980’s, Kramer’s play had its premiere performances in New York in 1985. It is an intense, deeply personal chronicle of and response to the AIDS epidemic’s initial outbreak. As a longtime rabble-rousing author and gay activist, Kramer served as the driving force behind the in-your-face ACT UP movement, and has been a controversial figure in the gay community for seemingly forever. The Normal Heart charts his own dramatic journey through those early, terrifying days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City as he tried to focus the city and the nation on an insidious plague that stalked the gay community with—at least initially—no known cause or origin.
Matt Bomer’s character, Felix, contracts AIDS in the early 80’s and slowly succumbs to the devastation of the HIV virus. In order to prepare for the very challenging physical transformation, Matt is currently preparing with Jean-Louis Rodrigue to embody the character, and to map out the physical transformation. Jean-Louis is using the Alexander Technique as a way for Matt to connect with his body and prepare for the intense physical requirements of the role. Stephen Spinella, who played Prior Walter in the original cast of Angels in America, also used the Alexander Technique as a way to prepare for and release the accumulated tension built up as a result of playing a dying AIDS patient.
In 2011, the Broadway production of The Normal Heart won a Tony Award for Best Broadway Revival. Emmy-winner Ryan Murphy (“Glee”) will direct The Normal Heart film, which Kramer adapted into a screenplay from his landmark play. Other members of the cast include Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Joe Mantello, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons. Production is slated to start in New York this summer, with a 2014 premiere planned on HBO.