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The Normal Heart lines up Julia Roberts and Alec Baldwin

Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love

Story by Jack Foley

JULIA Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons are poised to join Mark Ruffalo in Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of The Normal Heart.

Based on the Tony Award-winning drama, the drama details the rise of HIV and AIDS in New York’s gay community during the ’80s.

Murphy, who is better known as the co-creator of Glee, is directing from a script by Kramer. It will mark his first film since Eat Pray Love, which had Roberts as his leading lady.

In play form, The Normal Heart won the Tony for best revival last year, as well as best supporting actor and best supporting actress for John Benjamin Hickey and Ellen Barkin, respectively.

Ruffalo will play Ned Weeks, who was one of the first people to raise an alarm when what was then known as “gay cancer” surfaces in New York.

Roberts will play Emma Brookner, a wheel-chair bound doctor who is one of the only medical professionals in New York taking the new disease seriously. It’s the role that won Barkin her Tony.

Baldwin will play Weeks’ brother, a lawyer having a hard time dealing with his sibling’s sexuality, while Bomer plays Felix Turner, a gay fashion journalist who becomes Week’s boyfriend and tragically contracts the disease. The role won Hickey his Tony.

Parsons, who acted in the Broadway version, will reprise his role of a Southern gay activist who is also part of a gay men’s health crisis group.

The big screen adaptation of The Normal Heart has been something of a passion project for Murphy, who optioned the rights to the play last August. Given the heavyweight nature of its cast and themes, a release in time for awards season is expected.

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