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B.O.O. Role: Unknown Status: Pre-Production Release: June 5, 2015
The Cast of ‘The Normal Heart’ on Bringing Gay Rights to the Big Screen
Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch share why they wanted to be part of Ryan Murphy’s drama that took 30 years to make.
“One of my big hopes is that people whoi did not experience it directly will A have an understanding of what people went through at that time, but even more importantly, that fact that gay mens health crisis and ACT Up really catalyzed the gay rights movement,” says Bomer. “We really stand on the shoulders of these people for the rights we have today.”
‘The Normal Heart’s’ 30-Year Journey From Barbra Streisand to Ryan Murphy
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.
You can read the rest of the article here, along with a sneak peek from the upcoming issue of The Hollywood Reporter, where Matt and his co-stars from “The Normal Heart” are featured on the cover.
Matt Bomer and Marisa Coughlan Talk New Movie, Space Station 76
Do you like to watch yourselves on screen?
MARISA: It would be hilarious to say, “I love it, there’s nothing better than a Marisa Coughlan performance.”
MATT: You always hope that you are involved in the story that you can sort of remove your ego from the equation and sort of see the story objectively. But it’s difficult, you know. Certain jobs maybe it’s easier than others.
MARISA: This one is a little bit easier because it’s its own world. It’s not a random episode of a TV show. We’re on a spaceship; we’re in the 70′s kind of world. So you do get to escape into it a little bit. But I typically find it difficult to watch myself.
MATT: Yeah, it’s pretty hard.
Tell us a little more about the movie.
MATT: What I responded to for this movie was the whole idea suburban duality having grown up in the suburbs myself and space is this sort of gave it the sense of alienation but having that idea that if we just live on the right space station, if we do the right thing, our lives will be perfect and we won’t have any problems and then it’s like one of those great John Cheever short stories near that time period where everyone’s shadow starts to slowly bubble to the surface and you see their inner demons come to life. Having grown up in the suburbs myself I respond to that. I play Ted who is married to Misty and is a mechanic and he very much wants to fix things. He’s one of those people where no good deed goes unpunished. He wants to do the right thing, is really trying to create the right life for his wife and it’s just circumstances not going his way.
And you’re kind of bitter, aren’t you?
MARISA: I am. What I liked about it with the character is you don’t necessarily totally get what’s going on with my character right away. I seem like a nice wife and a nice mom and then it doesn’t take long for “Oh no, she’s a horrible human being. She is awful.”
MATT: In Misty’s defense I think Ted made a lot of promises to her that I think. Having come from earth which is not a very desirable place to live at this point, he probably had to work his way up in the ranks . I think he promised Misty a lot of things that just did not work.
MARISA: This is true, this is true.
MATT:I mean how else could I be with someone this hot? I promise her false things.
Matt Bomer on “The Normal Heart” and Unconditional Love
The Normal Heart doesn’t air until May on HBO but the cast and director Ryan Murphy were present yesterday on the first day of the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour to discuss the much-anticipated production.
Along with Murphy on the panel were stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch as well as, in the heartbreaking role of Felix Turner, Matt Bomer, who talked about the challenges of the role in the film version of the revered Larry Kramer play of the same name.
Following the panel, TheBacklot had the chance to talk WITH him about whether the role and the project changed him. “Hugely,” he explained. “It made me profoundly grateful in a whole new way for a lot of the things I’m fortunate to have in my life but mostly it really gave me a new understanding of unconditional love.”
With Ruffalo playing Felix’s lover, Ned Weeks, Bomer, sporting very short hair due to the project, talked about how AIDS affects the couple’s relationship in the course of the story. “What [Felix and Ned] go through is unimaginable and I think, because of the love they have for each other, Felix is able to heal in some ways even though he is sick and I think Ned is [able to heal] as well and I think that’s one of the things that makes the story so heartbreaking and profound and loving at the same time.”
In fact, Bomer expressed his gratitude for having Ruffalo as his on-screen lover. “Absolutely. Mark was a dream and doing the scenes with a type of intimacy we had to do with a different actor could have been really challenging,” he said. “I learned so much from working with him. He’s was so patient and amazing and brilliant in the role. I just had to be present with him.”
During the panel, Bomer shared where he first read Kramer’s play as a teenager. “This play was actually the first exposure I really had, a real understanding of the illness…I read it in the closet of my drama room when I was 14 years old.” He added, fully aware of what he’d just said, “the irony of that is not lost on me.”
ETonline: When we return, how bad does Neal feel for the role he played in Peter getting framed for Pratt’s murder?
Matt Bomer: Oh man, he feels incredibly guilty. He knows that Peter is in this position because of his choices, and his father’s choices. So Neal will do whatever he has to in order to get Peter out of prison — even if it’s illegal. And as someone who’s been where Peter is, I think seeing him in prison makes Neal dig deeper into his bag of tricks to figure out how to fix it. He wants to fix everything — but might make things worse in doing so.
ETonline: The season began with Neal in prison and Peter on the outside, what was it like filming scenes with Tim DeKay in orange and you in the suit?
Bomer: Kind of surreal because, first of all, everyone will see this, but Tim looks great in orange. It’s a wonderful color on him [laughs]. But it was a trip. And seeing how he handled it was so impressive for me, as an actor. From a character perspective, I found it really interesting; Neal can relate to his predicament in so many ways, so there’s a real sense of responsibility about how everything has transpired, even though his father was largely responsible. He’s certainly feeling the weight of that as well.
‘White Collar’ Season 5: Matt Bomer teases a love interest and a Faustian bargain
“White Collar” returns for its fifth season on Thursday (Oct. 17) and stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay tease that we will see Peter in prison, the Dutchman is a great bad guy and that the season is all about Neal trying to do his best against long odds.
The episode, titled “At What Price,” opens with Peter in prison and Neal’s focus is to get him out because he’s being framed for a murder that Neal’s father actually committed.
“This season for Neal is about best intentions gone awry. He’s feeling the sins of the father and has to skirt issues of trust to try to find some wiggle room to make reparations for what ultimately was his fault in terms of Peter’s future as an FBI agent, as a husband,” says Bomer.
In order to help Peter, Neal makes a Faustian bargain with the Dutchman, a.k.a. Curtis Hagen (Mark Sheppard), the criminal that Neal helped Peter put away on their very first case together.
“It’s that deal with the devil. He has Neal under his thumb, which is not a very comfortable place for him to be,” says Bomer. “Basically, he can have Neal do whatever elicit behavior he doesn’t want to take responsibility for or do himself and Neal can’t really put up much of a fight about it. I can’t go into too much detail … but it’s not a fun place for Neal to be. He really doesn’t have a leg to stand on in terms of opposition.”
White Collar’s Matt Bomer Picks His Favorite TV Duos
On his hit USA drama White Collar, the actor plays con man Neal Caffrey, who is serving out his prison sentence by teaming up with FBI Agent Peter Burke to bring down other criminals like himself. On the eve of tonight’s Season 5 premiere at 9 p.m. EST, he reflects on 10 other memorable odd-couple TV twosomes who also brought out the best in each other.
Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay talk about “White Collar”
Last week, Matt and Tim DeKay participated in a conference call for the press to promote the new season of “White Collar”. Here are some interviews I recommend reading. Please keep in mind the press participated in the same conference call together, so a lot of the interviews will have similar content.
Actor Matt Bomer loves hitting the streets to chase criminals as ex-con FBI consultant Neal Caffrey on USA Network’s “White Collar.” The show — its Season 4 finale airs Tuesday — typically spends four of seven shooting days on location. “Ever since I saw Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan,’ it was my dream as an actor to film here,” he says. Bomer, 35, who lives in Gramercy during filming, also bared his abs alongside Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and longtime friend Joe Manganiello in the 2012 hit film “Magic Mike.” When he’s not working, he lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Simon Halls, and their three sons. This is his New York.
1. Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Ave., between 33rd and 34th streets
For the finale this season, we got to film on the upper-deck patio and the very top balcony. That was a dream come true — looking over all of Manhattan and Brooklyn was unbelievable. At 5 in the morning it was brilliant; by 3 in the afternoon I was done. I’m not terribly acrophobic, but after about 10 hours up there, I was definitely ready to come down.
2. Maialino at Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave., between 21st and 22nd streets
This is my favorite spot in Gramercy. The name actually means “little pig,” and that’s more or less what I become when I eat there. It feels like a Roman trattoria — with big bay windows that open onto Gramercy Park, and rustic wooden tables with blue-check tablecloths. At dinner, they have a bread station, so if you’re carb-conscious, you better check it at the door. I like going for breakfast as well — I love the ricotta pancakes.
3. Roosevelt Island tram
This is a great way to see Manhattan from a completely new perspective, and for the price of a subway ride. Filming on the tram for the last season finale was really fun. I’m a little wary in regards to heights, especially when you’re filming an action scene on a fast-paced TV schedule that high up in a tram car on the day of an earthquake. [Filming took place Aug. 23, 2011, when a 5.9 earthquake occurred.] But after we’d gone both ways several times, I felt remarkably relaxed. I jumped off of one car to another, so it was a memorable day for me. It was a setup stunt in a safe way — no one could be potentially harmed!
Did you ever worry as an actor, that taking on the role of a stripper can glorify an industry that legitimises the objectification of men and women?
It’s a very real story. I am so grateful that people responded they way they did to the film, Channing’s story and Matt’s role, all the guys actually but when I signed on I thought it was a really small independent film that would be a small gritty story that Steven Soderbergh was directing and then it became something very different which is amazing and completely surprising. I’m so glad that Channing decided to tell the story and I got to be a part of it.
To me Steven Soderbergh is one of the artistic heirs to Robert Altman, was it difficult to adapt to that highly naturalistic, but stylised perspective?
It was fantastic, working with Steven Soderbergh, it was a dream come true and it was a great group of guys. It was like getting to be in a fraternity, which I never got to do in college so it was like entering into an endeavour that was quite intimidating (laughs) but everyone banded together and we all stayed after our scenes were done to watch and support everyone else. It was one of the greatest ensemble experiences of my career thus far.
If you could appear in any other TV show…?
Gosh that’s good, well drama definitely Homeland which I enjoy a lot but comedy, there’s a show here called Portlandia, which I’m not sure if it plays in the UK as it’s very cult here and it might be idiosyncratic to the States, or maybe Modern Family!
So what can fans expect from series three of White Collar?
“What I love about series 3 is that Neal’s conflict goes from an external one (to find Kate, and avenge her death) to an internal one which is ‘do I stay or do I go?’ and the tryst dynamics between he and Peter get thrown completely out of whack this season so a lot of it is about them sussing each other out and Neal figuring out if he’s going to be a career criminal or does he really have value and worth at the FBI.”
Have you ever been conned in real life?
“Absolutely, I think anyone who moves to New York as a young twenty-something has been conned one way or another! I was sold a pair of dud speakers in college once. It made me open my eyes to the world around me and, not be a cynic but, certainly always look for the deepest agenda in any situation.”
White Collar is not the kind of show you can multi-task in front of. You have to give it your full attention!
The writers are very smart and very respectful of the audience. That’s one of the things I love about working on the show — when I pick up the scripts I’ll have to read it two or three times to keep my wits about me.
A lot of people make the assumption that telly is dumbing down. But isn’t it smarter than it’s ever been?
I think so. I’m really happy with the state of television, specifically on cable [White Collar airs on the USA Network in America], because there’s a bit less bureaucracy and they don’t worry about every demographic. We have a bit more freedom to tell the story we want to tell.