Matt Bomer’s shockingly frail appearance in the second half of The Normal Heart not only required tremendous physical deprivation, but emotional sacrifice as well.
The actor, who plays journalist Felix Turner in the film which premieres Sunday (25 May) on HBO, lost at least 40 pounds for the role (he has not given an exact figure beyond that) to realistically portray a man dying of AIDS.
‘I felt a tremendous responsibility in playing this role, and part of it was creating that physical reality for the second half of the film,’ he tells HIV-Plus Magazine in an interview posted Friday (23 May).
During a three-month break in filming, Bomer focused on shedding the weight and in the end, did so in isolation away from husband Simon Halls and their three kids.
‘It was sort of one month of casual weight loss and then two months of really aggressive weight loss, and that’s when I left my family, toward the end of the second month, and then just lived on my own in New York and really tried to focus on really solely what Felix was going through.’
‘I obviously consulted someone and I prepared our kids as best I could, but I felt it was best for me to be away at that point in time until I sort of finished the project and could start eating again.’
Bomer stars opposite Mark Ruffalo in the movie version of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award winning play of the same name. Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, a fictionalized version of Kramer.
Also in the cast are Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch and Jim Parsons.