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“The Normal Heart” Is Destined To Be The Year’s Biggest And Best TV Event

heartIs it too early to predict the Emmy nominees? Ryan Murphy‘s loooong-awaited film adaptation of The Normal Heart, one of the two or three great American plays about the impact of the AIDS epidemic, is likely to receive a lion’s share when they’re announced in July. HBO has just released a full-length trailer for its celluloid version of Larry Kramer‘s devastating (and somewhat autobiographical) 1985 play which will premiere on the premium cable channel May 25 and it’s the most powerful 1:30 minutes of video we’ve watched all week.

It all begins on a happy note in 1981 with Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Taylor Kitsch and pals convening on Fire Island for what appears to be a memorable party weekend. Then Groff begins to cough and drops to his knees on the beach as the water rushes in, symbolizing that AIDS has just entered the lives of this close group of friends.

Ruffalo stars as Ned Weeks, the Kramer-esque protagonist, a man who refuses to remain silent as he and his friends become stricken with this mysterious and, in many cases, fatal new illness. Julia Roberts makes a rare small screen appearance as Emma Brookner, a wheelchair-bound doctor, who has an exchange of dialogue that Ruffalo that succinctly sums of the impact of both Kramer and his landmark play:

“Where’s this big mouth I hear you’ve got?” Brookner asks.

“Is big mouth a symptom?” Weeks questions back.

“No, it’s a cure,” she offers in response.

Powerful stuff, right? The Normal Heart also features a stellar supporting cast with many openly gay actors, including Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Denis O’Hare and Joe Mantello.

Check out the trailer below.