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05. 06. 14
Posted by Kelly

The Bomer Method

Before Matt Bomer even knew he was gay, he found Larry Kramer — or maybe Larry Kramer found him. In the closet of his high school theater in Spring, Texas, Bomer’s teacher had built a small library of scripts acquired on trips to New York.

Bomer pulled Kramer’s The Normal Heart off the shelf. He was 14. He loved acting, but he was the son of a former Dallas Cowboys player, so he also played football. He had girlfriends. His family went to church multiple times a week. It was the early 1990s, and for a Texas teenager, the AIDS epidemic was happening somewhere else, to someone else.

“I was relatively sheltered,” he says. The Normal Heart was his wake-up call. “It wasn’t until I read Larry’s work that I had any kind of understanding as to what was really going on in the world around me. It just lit this fire in my belly.” He was outraged at the injustice portrayed in the play, at the story of gay men whose unexplained, horrifying deaths seemed inconsequential — at best — to the many doctors and lawmakers and media who looked the other way.

So he started performing monologues at school from The Normal Heart and its companion piece, The Destiny of Me, and from another closet library find, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. “I felt the need to let people know that this was going on,” he says — even if his audience was largely other theater kids in Houston’s suburbs. “I probably stuck out like a sore thumb.”

But as much as Kramer’s outrage spoke to a young Bomer, the underlying gay love story in The Normal Heart — between the activist Ned Weeks (based on Kramer) and Felix Turner, a New York Times style reporter — also worked its way deep into his teenage consciousness. “I knew on some level, even if it was way on the periphery, that it was part of my story, too.”

You can read the rest of the interview here.

How Larry Kramer’s play transformed his world view: “I was relatively sheltered. It wasn’t until I read Larry’s work that I had any kind of understanding as to what was really going on in the world around me. It just lit this fire in my belly.”

How the role of Felix Turner changed him: “You’re really lucky as an artist if you get a role that changes you as a person. It taught me how to access myself on a completely different level as an artist. And it blew my mind in terms of the level of unconditional love between Ned and Felix — my goodness, if these people could incorporate this into their lives, under their circumstances, why can’t I?”

On Kramer’s lasting effect: “Larry is somebody we wish we had as our best friend growing up — as uncomfortable as he may have made us sometimes. Activism isn’t beautiful and easy, or a bunch of people getting together and picketing; it’s a lot more complicated and difficult than that. And true love — the most unconditional love — can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their sexuality.”

On coming out to his parents: “I’m not going to lie and say it was a bed of roses. But with the gift of time and grace, my parents chose love. And I think it’s important for people to know that. We always hear, ‘Oh, it gets better, it gets better,’ and [then] so many people go, ‘No it doesn’t.’ I feel lucky to say that, yes, sometimes it does.”

On being out (or lack thereof) in the media: “It wasn’t anything I really endeavored to hide but a lot of stuff I would do would be these fashion spreads where there’s one paragraph about you at the end.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

With the end of his hit show, White Collar, in sight, the 36-year-old actor was looking to take risks, challenge himself, and change how he’s seen. He succeeded on all counts playing an AIDS-afflicted writer in HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart. The grueling role took a huge emotional and physical toll, but Bomer wouldn’t have it any other way [read more].

Matt Bomer is the cover star of Out’s June/July issue (available on newsstands May 15), and he spoke with writer Shana Naomi Krochmal about the experience of acting in the long-awaited adaptation of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart directed by Ryan Murphy for HBO. In the film, Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, who falls victim to the disease as Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) and Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts) raise hell from opposite ends to figure out what’s happening.

You can read a sneak peek of the interview here.

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.”

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.

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.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

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.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

“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.”

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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