Taylor Kitsch had a lot to learn.
The 32-year-old actor is one of the stars of HBO’s upcoming film The Normal Heart based on Larry Kramer’s play about the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.
‘I mean, look: I was born in ’81. I had no idea about the whole AIDS epidemic,’ the actor tellsVulture.
The Friday Night Lights star says it was all a bit of a stretch.
‘I’m straight, and playing a gay guy who’s leading a double life, who’s still in the closet, who’s losing his lovers, who has AIDS but won’t admit it to himself, who ends up dying … I mean, where do you want to start? F*ck me, dude. It’s insane.’
And there was more to learn than lines when preparing for the role.
‘The body type, the fact that he works at Citibank, very high up on Wall Street, so learning that part of it and reading an insane amount of books about guys who were leading those kinds of lives, learning about AZT and where it started … I knew probably the surface stuff, but what I learned for this, the education I got, that was another great tool.’
But these kinds of challenges are what an actor lives for apparently.
‘Being out of your comfort zone is why you become an actor,’ he says. ‘You try to stretch yourself as much as you can.’
The film, airing next year, has had a long and troubled journey to the screen with Barbra Streisand holding the rights for more than a decade and often very publicly clashing with Kramer.
Glee creator Ryan Murphy directs the movie and assembled an all-star cast that also includes Mark Rufallo, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer.