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Alec Baldwin, Julia Roberts and Others Join Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Normal Heart,’ Starring Mark Ruffalo

Written by on January 20, 2012 

Update: Variety briefly mentions in another Murphy-related story that the director is seeking Viggo Mortensen for the part of “Bruce Niles, a gay ex-Green Beret.” Should that end up going through, you can expect us to cover it as soon as necessary.

Four and a half months after Plan B Entertainment threw in their support, THR tells us that Ryan Murphy has now found his primary cast for The Normal Heart. Mark Ruffalo has been on board the drama since July of 2010, but we’re now hearing that Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, and Matt Bomer are also set to star in the adaptation of Larry Kramer‘s stage play.

Said play revolves around the HIV/AIDS scare that swept New York City during the late ’80s, and how Ned Weeks — a surrogate of sorts for Kramer — helped raise awareness during a time in which very little attention was paid to the disease. The other actors, meanwhile, appear as follows: Roberts will play “Emma Brookner, a wheel-chair bound doctor who is one of the only doctors in New York talking the new disease seriously”; Baldwin is Weeks’ lawyer brother, who’s “having a hard time dealing with his sibling’s sexuality”; Parsons has been cast in the role of “a Southererner who is a gay activist and part of a gay men’s health crisis group”; and we’ll see Bomer as Felix Turner, the “gay fashion journalist who becomes Week’s boyfriend and tragically contracts the disease.”

I don’t much like Murphy‘s work in film or television, but The Normal Heart will probably be a case of “lineup over helmer.” (A case I’ve just made up.) While I’ll dock some points from Parsons for starring on the truly abhorrent The Big Bang Theory, it’s still pretty great that such talents can sink their teeth into actor-friendly material. A start date or studio haven’t been named (though it’s mentioned that Participant Pictures are interested), but we’ll keep an eye out on this one for now.

Are you impressed by this assemblage of actors?

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