Ryan Murphy on why he likes The Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer
'I like people who are like, ‘You know what? I don’t care what you think. I have something to say'
Busy Ryan Murphy, the force behind TV’s Glee, The New Normal and American Horror Story, has yet another project that he’s working on these days: the long-awaited film version of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart.
He’s got nothing but admiration for the outspoken Kramer who wrote the largely autobiographical plays about the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984.
‘I like people who are like, ‘You know what? I don’t care what you think. I have something to say,’’ Murphy says in an interview with Vogue. ‘That’s why I like Larry Kramer. That’s why I want to do this movie.’
Kramer is not only a writer, he also is a well-known activist who helped fund the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) at the height of the epidemic.
‘I really relate to that sweet, necessary concept of protest and anarchy,’ Murphy says.
Kramer very publicly feuded with Barbra Streisand who originally optioned the play but never made it into a film. After Murphy took over the rights, Kramer wrote a scathing email to Streisand which he made public: ‘Ryan has wonderful ideas that jell and enhance my work. You said you couldn’t get financing. He has financing. He said if he couldn’t get it, he’d finance it himself. (You chose to remodel and redecorate your houses.) This is a man whose driving passion to make this movie is extraordinary.’
Streisand has disputed Kramer’s version of events. She said she ‘worked very hard to get the film made’ and when it became clear that she could not raise the money, she took the project to HBO which offered Kramer $250,000. She said he would not agree to anything less than $1 million.
Normal Heart, which won the Tony Award in 2o11 for best revival of a play, has some big names attached including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons.