Having originally been announced as a possible theatrical release through Participant Pictures, we’ve got word that HBO will now be taking on Ryan Murphy‘s new adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play, The Normal Heart.

An autobiographical story by Larry Kramer, Normal Heart focuses on the steady increase in HIV/AIDS cases amongst New York’s gay population in the 1980s and the effects it had on the people at the time. Julia Roberts is attached to star as Emma Brookner, a paraplegic doctor who is one of the few in New York’s medical community who recognizes the risk the disease poses. Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons all co-star as various characters also faced with the serious impact AIDS has on their lives.  It will be director/executive producer Murphy’s first time working with HBO.

“We are so proud to be involved with this monumental project,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo raved. “Ryan has assembled an extraordinary cast to bring Larry Kramer’s landmark theatrical achievement to the screen for the first time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this important film to HBO.”

During it’s Broadway stint, Normal Heart won multiple Tonys for Best Revival, best supporting actor (John Benjamin Hickey, whose role Bomer will take on) and best supporting actress (Ellen Barkin, who starred as Roberts’ character on stage). The television movie is set to begin production this year with an intended premiere date landing somewhere in 2014.

Though Murphy’s TV projects have been a rollercoaster ride of spectacularly directed character-driven storylines and almost horrifyingly sophomoric melodramas, he has always managed to tackle gay themes with the kind of class and emotional depth they truly deserve. While his previous collaboration with Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love, left much to be desired, this may be one project to watch out for next year.

Are you looking forward to The Normal Heart?

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