President Obama Was So Moved By “The Normal Heart” He Phoned Ryan Murphy To Learn More About It

bal-hbo-normal-heart-tv-movie-larry-kramer-201-001President Obama loved Eat Pray Love so much that he personally called up director Ryan Murphy to share how moved he was by Julia Roberts’ quest for identity in the modern age of romance.

Oh wait, it was Ryan Muphy’s more recent HBO film The Normal Heart that got POTUS on the line with the filmmaker.

Murphy confirmed the call to Deadline, adding that, “the whole movie is about Larry trying to get the attention of Washington and 30 years later, to get a call from the President is a full-circle moment.”

Which is pretty noteworthy if you think about it. During the time the film takes place, then-President Reagan epically failed to mention the epidemic, and never publicly acknowledged the crisis until the end of his second term in 1987. By that time, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS and 20,849 had died.

So to have our current president go out of his way to contact the filmmaker has to feel good to everyone who worked through blood, sweat and tears to raise awareness.

If you haven’t seen The Normal Heart yet, nag your Facebook friends until one of them gives your his HBO Go login and you’ll understand why Obama picked up the phone.

The film is an adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony award-winning play about the rise of the AIDS-HIV crisis in the 80s, and should be required gay viewing.

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  • Dxley

    I cannot believe they ruined this by hiring a straight man.

  • Jbaltes

    @Dxley: What a narrow, stereotypical comment! It is these mindsets that perpetuate divisiveness in our communities! Following that logic, no gay man should be hired to play a straight man (think Neil Patrick Harris!) Let’s look at people for their talent!

  • Oscar Raymundo

    No, Ryan Murphy, full-circle would have been for the President to actually call up, you know, Larry Kramer.

  • james_in_cambridge

    C’mon right-wing gays…come smear Obama and the Democrats and tell us lies about how Obama and his party hate gays and it’s really the Republicans that love us. They just don’t like showing it because they’re about tough love or whatever nonsense your right-wing politburo is telling you to spread online today.

  • Matt1961

    My boyfriend and I watched this the other night. I cried for 2 days. This film moved me more than any other film related to the beginning of the AIDS crisis to now. I grew up and was coming of age when AIDS and HIV first came on the scene.

    I remember a family friend came to visit us at work (my family works together). He sat down with my oldest brother and broke down crying. His oldest son had KS and was dying in the hospital. Nobody knew until that moment, his dad was afraid he’d be shamed. “I didn’t even know he was gay” was his dad’s comment. His son was my age. It was 1983 or 84.

    If we could get them all back, put all the cards back in the rolodex…

  • masc4masc

    i watched the first 20 minutes. it sucked. i opted for bareback porn instead. :)

  • NG22

    This movie broke my fucking heart. It’s nice to know President Obama saw it and felt that same sense of empathy.

  • OzJosh

    @Dxley: There are plenty of straight actors who would have been up to the job. It just so happens that Mark Ruffalo lacked the depth and the range to make the lead role anything more than a two-hour rant.

  • Blackceo

    This was an excellent movie, but it was one of those one and done movies for me. I don’t intend to ever watch it again. I watched it with a mixed age group. I’m 36 and my age group and younger didn’t have the emotional impact it had on the 40s and 50s aged guys we saw it with, for obvious reasons. I was 5 in 1983 and I have never known anyone to die of AIDS related complications. For those who lived through it and lost friends and lovers to it, I’m sure it brought back the horror of those years in the 80s when the disease killed so many. There were some really emotional scenes, but the only one that actually had me cry was when Ned’s brother Ben was at the hospital at the end and the two embraced and Ben sobbed. There was a lot of meaning in that given the complicated relationship he had with his brother.

  • stanhope

    @Oscar Raymundo: Now THAT is the absolute truth!!!!! You got it right.

  • jmmartin

    Oh, gosh, Fox will get hold of this and portray Obama as cruising, perhaps looking for a three way.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Strange that an article about the president’s appreciation of a movie would ignite your pathological hatred of conservatives. Is manufactured outrage really that much a part of your ideology that you feel compelled to inject it into every topic? Or do you truly live that angry a life?

  • phoebe

    Is there any mention that President Bush devoted much time, effort and money to HIV in his administration………..and still does? He really tried to address the health issue.

  • phoebe

    @james_in_cambridge: we are human beings and are all in the same boat, why are you so ‘us and them’? That attitude is perhaps the problem.

  • jar

    I never saw the play because so many AIDS related dramas were too maudlin and it was all too close. Normal Heart holds up because it is really about much more than the AIDS crisis. It addresses how AIDS forced us to challenge our notions of ourselves and our movement. It’s also a Cassandra story, so it has an element of Greek drama. It’s a compelling story; I highly recommend it.

    It was strange to watch it, though, because the passage of time has transformed these men into leaders and visionaries (rightfully so), whereas at the time they were merely people we all dealt with, fought with, and argued about in NYC in those days. I really hadn’t thought about all of those conflicts (not wanting to be sex-negative, not knowing what was dangerous conduct, feeling lost in the face of such a catastrophe, and having to fight to survive) in a very long time. It seems like another life, although the pain of the loss of lovers and friends still lingers.

  • enlightenone

    @Oscar Raymundo: I would agree! I hope he will invite him to the White House for some Humanitarian Honor/Award.

  • dbmyers

    @masc4masc: Go away troll. No one cares what you think.

  • Wilberforce

    It was about more than Kramer fighting the government. It was also about his fight with our own community. And the community won, first by kicking him out of gmhc, which he founded, and now as most of the resources go to life support instead of prevention.

  • Aromaeus

    @Jbaltes: Please stop with your strawmans. Openly gay actors have a hard time getting roles, especially as straight characters and do not get nearly as much praise as straight people get for playing gay roles. If gay actors get cast for gay roles, they can be judged on their acting and not on how “difficult” the role is because somehow playing gay is just the ultimate test of acting ability for straight people/sarcasm.

  • lykeitiz

    I guess I’m the only one who felt the movie could have been much better. Ryan Murphy is hit or miss. He didn’t ruin this by any means, but it definitely could have been more in another director’s hands. And like someone else already commented, Ruffalo could have been better.

    And yes, @Oscar Raymundo: you couldn’t be more right!

  • BrianZ

    I thought the movie was well done and all of the actors well chosen. I was moved to tears more than once which hasn’t happened since Steel Magnolias I think. ;)
    I do find it a good look for Obama to have called Murphy. I hope that interest translates into action at a policy level.
    @james_in_cambridge: Ha! You know he really hated that, too. :)

  • BJ McFrisky

    @james_in_cambridge: Being able to think for myself makes me a traitor? Ah, the mindset of the Liberal hack . . .

  • Thad1527

    I haven’t seen The Normal Heart yet…I have to wait for HBO’s free preview weekend, which is coming soon.

    But honestly…”Eat Pray Love and leave your devoted husband?” Ick.

  • DennisPoz

    I haven’t seen “The Normal Heart”. I don’t need to, I lived it and still living it. I had just turn thirty when I got the news. I was given 5 months. But, here I am! I’m very glad that President Obama seen the movie and made the call.

  • SteveDenver

    @Dxley: …and gays should only be able to play homosexuals. It’s called ACTING, idiot.

  • SteveDenver

    @james_in_cambridge: Gay Republicans are “changing their party from the inside,” which is why they are constantly insulted, but take it like good self-loathing morons. They’re going to conquer through appeasement.

  • james_in_cambridge

    @SteveDenver: Why shouldn’t Gay Republicans appease the bigots who literally want to stone them to death. After all, appeasement worked for Neville Chamberlain and the Brits during WWII. Oh, wait…

  • manjoguy

    @james_in_cambridge: I don’t know about ” how Obama and his party hate gays ” but boy they sure don’t like our Constitution, free markets, limited government and personal responsibility, that’s for sure!

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