The Normal Heart starring Mark Ruffalo premieres on HBO this Sunday

The Normal Heart HBO Lori Acken

It’s been 30 years in the making, but this Memorial Day weekend finally brings us the premiere of the HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. As Kramer says in a couple of the clips below: “Writers are given one great story to tell. I’m telling my story.”

HBO’s mini-site for the movie has a plethora of videos, history and context for what the world was like in early-80s New York City. A new disease was being seen, and it was perceived as only affecting gay men. Doctors and the public were scared. Politicians were indifferent. In today’s era of progress, that the events of this play and movie took place only 30 years ago should be a reminder to us all.

Channel Guide Magazine‘s own Lori Acken spoke with Mark Ruffalo about The Normal Heart. “The deaths of a lot of people sit squarely in the hands of the people that were dehumanizing and delegitimizing the gay culture’s population for asking for help,” Ruffalo said.

The Normal Heart tells the story of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic from Larry Kramer’s perspective.

In the video below, Larry Kramer, Mark Ruffalo and others from The Normal Heart discuss the history Larry Kramer lived that led him to start the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and write the script.


After the events in The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer went on to found ACT UP. The video below puts another bit of historical context to Larry Kramer’s work.


In this video, the cast discuss their characters and their relationships with each other.


Not all is bleak in these videos. In the clip below, Larry Kramer says: “Mark Ruffalo playing me is embarrassing. This hunk is playing me. I just can’t believe it.”


In the video below, the stars of The Normal Heart talk about the movie and their experiences filming it and watching it.


Ruffalo continued in Lori’s interview: “But the good part of all this sadness is that people did learn how to work together in ways that they never would have. The gay community, through the suffering the AIDS epidemic inflicted on them, united and was able to bring us to the day where we have marriage equality. Significant changes have happened since the AIDS crisis happened.”

Contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race can now come out of the HIV closet on national television. The Normal Heart reminds all of us of the history of everything that came before. And a hope that as a society we will go forwards, and not back.