Barbra's Last Laugh: "The Normal Heart" will be made-for-cable
Streisand wanted to make it for HBO in the mid-90s because she couldn't get a studio and distributor on board. Larry Kramer REFUSED because HBO wouldn't pay him his demanded $1 million for the script. When Larry Kramer sold the rights to Ryan Murphy, he publicly chastised Barbra for not paying for the movie out of her own pocket and gloated that Ryan Murphy would be making the theatrical adaptation he had always wanted.
Today it was announced that Ryan Murphy's adaptation will be made for HBO with a budget of $15 million.
I always thought it wonderful that Kramer must have put his whole heart into "The Normal Heart" because from every indication I see he quit having one around the time it was written.
[r1] You have very little insight into how something like this gets done.
So how much did Kramer make?
Well, shit. There goes my first Oscar. I guess an Emmy will have to do.
He's a douche. I'm so tired of him going around acting like he is King of the Gays.
Do we make casting suggestions here? Any chance they'll use people from the recent Broadway revival?
Re: Larry. As a junior questioning gay, I remember reading his book "F_ggots" and it probably shoved me deeper into the closet than I already was. I thought all gay people were like the douchebags in that book, and I knew I didn't want to be like them!
I think Julia Roberts is attached to the project. Would she do it for TV?
It's not TV.
It's not a very good play. It may have all sort of sentimental value because it was the big play about AIDS during the peak of the AIDS crisis that wasn't offensive (like AS IS was), but it's still not a good play. It's self-indulgent and mawkish, and makes the character based on the playwright too heroic and upright. And some of the dialogue is pretty terrible.
Once the generation of men who lived through the AIDS crisis (like myself) are gone, it will be entirely forgotten.
Cable TV? Emmy Vehicle?
Why this sounds like it was written for Glenn
Isn't Mark Ruffalo supposed to play Ned? And I thought Bradley Cooper was supposed to be his boyfriend?
It's TV regardless of how you cut it. Not that I'm surprised. Does Murphy even have the clout for features?
Streisand was smart and saw the gaping holes that needed to be corrected for film. She would have been able to get it done for the big screen and would have done it with style. But Kramer wasn't willing to bend an inch and was very nasty over the fact that she didn't bow to him.
I don't see Murphy having the same hubris. In fact, that was one reason why he was probably hired. Funny, one poster in the Streisand AIDS thread tried to state that no one would be steamrolled by larry. Wrong, of course. I'm not expecting much.
Sucks for Matt that they got rid of the Cable Ace Awards.
R15 Not to mention the Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer."
Larry Kramer is a self promoting ass pirate. His all too public HIV diagnosis is a hoax. He's really HIVnegative and has passed himself off as an AIDS victim to further his greedy causes and line his pockets. Yale wants nothing to do with him or his collection of hack writing. Please, will one of you old queens who has suffered with HIV fuck him up the ass all bareback style. You'll need to get really drunk first in order to fuck that shag nasty looking heb.
Kramer insisted on keeping all of the looooong monologues in the script. Barbra told him that they had to be modified for the big screen, but Kramer wasn't having any of it.
F&F R17. Whatever one's opinion about the insufferable old bastard that is Larry Kramer, it is beyond tolerance to insult gay people, even if they are "old queens," who have HIV by suggesting they infect him.
Fuck YOU, R17.
Could be worse, it could be a Starz Original Movie
R20 Could be even worse -- on The Hallmark Channel, starring Marie Osmond.
Supposedly the cast was Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer as the boyfriend, and Jim Parsons in the role he played on Bway. (but I thought it was a feature film then)
I don't get op's post? Why is Barbra getting the last laugh over this?
Agreed. Do they do F&F anymore? If so, F&F r17.
R18 Barbra was right. The long diatribes will not work in a movie.
I'm keeping my expectations for the movie low. Murphy can craft very effective individual emotional moments, but an entire movie? Still if there's anyone who's not going to be steamrolled by Kramer it's probably Murphy.
The main character is often quite unlikable. I thought Joe Mantello did a good job of making the character more palatable, usually Ned seems like a know it all.
I loved when La Streisand was quoted at the premiere of ANGELS IN AMERICA (the HBO version), she said something on the red carpet about The Normal Heart, 'it's like this but without all these fehcocktah angels.'
Barbra's version of The Normal Heart got delayed because Barbra couldn't decide whether to go with a red binder for her script (since the word "heart" was in the title) or to stick with the usual black binder she uses for films. Donna Karen offered to design a black and red plaid binder which although intending to help only made three options for Barbra, who eventually got so frustrated she spent two months making sure her thimble collection from Ireland was perfectly lined up on the proper shelf in her china shop.
How was Babs planning to include mother/daughter scenes in the film of TNH to deal with her own mother issues?
[quote] Cable TV? Emmy Vehicle?
Why this sounds like it was written for Glenn.
Bitch, you did it first with "Angels in America"...
[quote] Does Murphy even have the clout for features?
After the mess he made of the features of "Eat Pray Love" and "Running With Scissors" - not any more.
He's strictly a TV name from now on.
"Streisand wanted to make it for HBO in the mid-90s because she couldn't get a studio and distributor on board."
She is saying that now, but it's complete bullshit.
In 1996, Columbia/Tristar had budgeted THE NORMAL HEART at $32 million. Streisand wanted Kenneth Branagh to star. "I wanted certain actors to be in it," said Streisand. "One said he would do it, but the schedule was off. It was at the time where I just bought my new house and was trying to design it. I didn't want to be there for construction, so I thought
'I'm going to do THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES'!
[quote]As a junior questioning gay, I remember reading his book "F_ggots" and it probably shoved me deeper into the closet than I already was. I thought all gay people were like the douchebags in that book, and I knew I didn't want to be like them!
Well, the book is satire, so that's the point--you're not SUPPOSED to want to be like them.
I rather like Faggots, but I understand that some people might find it unduly harsh, and something of an example of telling tales out of school. Though, really, I don't know that any adult could really read that book and rationally think it's somehow realistic.
[quote]In 1996, Columbia/Tristar had budgeted THE NORMAL HEART at $32 million. Streisand wanted Kenneth Branagh to star. "I wanted certain actors to be in it," said Streisand. "One said he would do it, but the schedule was off. It was at the time where I just bought my new house and was trying to design it. I didn't want to be there for construction, so I thought 'I'm going to do THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES'! .... WTF???
What's not to get? She had time to make a movie, she wanted to do "The Normal Heart" but her male lead wasn't avaiable so she chose to "The Mirror Has Two Faces".
Didn't she also buy the film rights for The Tale of the Allergist's Wife?
Larry Kramer is everything you accuse him of and more. Impossible on every level, arrogant, dismissive,, disrespectful, accusatory to name a few adjectives .
It should not be about his play, it should be about what he did.
He insulted people, threw pipe bombs, made accusations, confronted, assaulted, ridiculed everyone, especially YOU his brethren. He was unmerciful, unforgiving, inappropriate, controversial to name a few more.
Let me tell you this, he risked his life, he risked his sanity, he risked all his friends, he risked ridicule and hatred. He did it all to get a message out, to awaken a culture in denial, to challenge everyone. He did it because no one else would. No one else took the risk. He put up. He laid down the gauntlet, he set the blazes. He forced attention on AIDS, he talked about and lectured about everything no one else would dare. HE ACCOMPLISHED something. He is a freaking AMERICAN HERO and everyone of you owe him homage. Difficult people are the ones that accomplish things, the squeaky wheels gets oiled.
Is Larry Kramer an alcoholic?
Can someone tell me how Felix caught the virus? Was he the one pass the virus to Ned? Or it's Ned who passed the virus to him?
I agree with r39, though it seems insane and only semi-literate.
Kramer lived with Barbra for a year in her Beverly Hills home. He was broke and not in good health.
r37: She had the studio. She had the money.
She talks about How Important It Was For Her To Make This Movie, but she dithers and makes excuses, excuses, excuses.
And then she made one of her most embarassing films.
The fact is, THE NORMAL HEART wasn't that important to her.
[quote]The fact is, THE NORMAL HEART wasn't that important to her.
And? Stop acting like this is the Holy Grail of Literature that must be talked about in hushed tones. It's one story. Other AIDS movies were made. After twenty five years it's still only going to be cable movie.
At one point Sharon Stone was attached to the project for the role of the doctor.
[quote]He forced attention on AIDS
If you were to ask most Americans, they would say Rock Hudson or Magic Johnson forced attention on AIDS. They would also say, "Larry Kramer who?"
Here's an article from the Advocate in 1996 - Kramer had gotten the rights back from Barbra, and was preparing to have John Schlesinger make the film, and was thanking Hollywood's gay mafia for rescuing the project, and the gay financiers and film executives who were going to make the film a reality.
Guess what never happened.
The Advocate article gives a little better insight into what happened -
Streisand optioned it in 1986, but she and Kramer immediately disagreed on what the adaptation would be like and who would write it. She did "Nuts" instead, and after two years the option expired and Kramer got the rights back.
He tried to get the film made himself with him directing, but no one would agree to finance it.
In 1992 Barbra became interested again. Kramer agreed not to write the screenplay, but the project got derailed again and she chose to do her famous concert tour.
After the tour she optioned the play again, and was preparing to make it for Columbia with Kenneth Branaugh and Ralph Fiennes, but it got derailed again because of scheduling or budget concerns or something, so Barbra did "Mirror". While "Mirror" is in production Kramer does an interview with Variety and grates Streisand (see next link), and Streisand responds by dropping the project.
Then Kramer gets the project rolling again with John Schlesinger and producers Laurence Mark and David Picker, but that never happens either.
The money issues are conveniently ignored in the Advocate's article.
R48 If someone pays to option a play or book and nothing else happens and the rights revert back to the author, does the author have to pay back the fee they received for the option in return for the rights?
R50 The point that you are now referring to yourself in the third person?
R51, you get to keep the money.
Here's what I think it comes down to -
Nobody knows how to make this into a movie and that is why no one has taken the risk to make it. "The Normal Heart" is not cinematic. The language is not cinematic. The subject matter is not marketable. Its virtues as a piece of dramatic art are questionable. At the end of the day people simply aren't very passionate about it. They like the IDEA of it - Streisand wanted to turn it into as a gay "The Way We Were" - but the actual play, no, they don't want to see that.
The fact that Kramer has been trying to make this into a movie for 26 years says more about his greed and vanity than his commitment to his message. Not everything has to be made into a movie.
Thank you R53 Thats what I suspected. So basically this guy sells the rights, then makes any adaptation impossible by being a Grade A jerk. Gets the rights back and sells it AGAIN, gets paid AGAIN, does the same thing and AGAIN. Now he sells it a third time, gets paid a third time. How much do you want to bet he pulls the same stunt all over again?
The Normal Heart could be made into a great movie, the problem is that Kramer is insisting on writing the script himself (he obviously sees an Oscar in his future) and as the above poster mentioned, the play is not cinematic. Kramer's script would clearly adhere very closely to the play and this is the crux of the problem. Streisand wanted someone else to do the screenplay and Kramer was not having it. This is exactly why the film has not been made yet.
One of the myths propogated by Larry Kramer is that NO ONE WAS SAYING OR DOING ANYTING ABOUT GRID/AIDS/HIV and he and he alone sounded the alarm. As a matter of fact, plenty of people were doing plenty of things as soon as word got out. In fact, there is a shitload of evidence *in* The Normal Heart that there was grassroots activism from the beginning. Of course, assholes abhor a vaccuum, and Kramer rushed in to scream and cajole and to tell everybody they had to stop having sex. Completely. There is plenty of evidence in "Faggots" that Kramer did not respect his fellow homosexuals and was against pleasure of all kinds. The epidemic gave him the chance to wag his fingers and tell people "I told you so."
He didn't seroconvert until long after the epidemic was raging and as he tells it, he knew exactly what he was doing when he went out and got fucked by somebody he presumed was positive as an act of revenge against his lover at the time. So, he has never had a high horse to ride on, but ride on it he does.
I prefer my heroes to be of the Michael Callan variety: get out there, talk to doctors, and create the first-ever of its kind pamphlet: "How to Have Sex in an Epidemic" using the best facts available at the time.
I thought George Wolfe and the cast, particularly Mantello, were able to really make something out of the revival, which somehow worked despite the script. They leavened Kramer's hectoring somehow.
I doubt a Ryan Murphy has the skills for such a thing, and since he has a demonstrated love of making gay characters say and behave abysmally, I am imagining the worst of Kramer's impulses will be foregrounded.
You can go to Streisand's web site and read her take on the debacle. She is very unhysterical about it, wanted very much to do the project but could not get Kramer to agree to lesser fees the studios were offering or much of anything she thought was necessary as the producer of the project. She did invest a good deal of her own $$ for a while, but like any good business person got the idea that this would not fly. Read for yourself and decide. She is not bitter or bitchy- simply lays it out. And she states that she hopes he brings it to the screen somehow since it is such a great property.
More people will see it on HBO then if it were made into a theatrical feature. That's a given.
Ugh, Ryan Murphy's involvement alone just kills any sort of interest for me.
I'm in the mood for another Emmy! And a song!
Chris Colfer, happy for Ryan Murphy
I know that, dear.
You missed the point of my previous posts.
Or maybe you didn't.
In the Advocate article Larry claims Barbra become uncomfortable when he gave her a picture book of men having sex, and that's why she lost passion for the project.
He really can't see the forest from the trees, can he?
Something that strikes me as odd is that the film shouldn't be that expensive to make. It doesn't need fancy sets or special effects, and actors would probably be willing to work for union scale. It could be shot entirely on sound stages. It could probably be made for a few million.
[quote]Ugh, Ryan Murphy's involvement alone just kills any sort of interest for me.
Ask Chris Colfer or Mike O'Malley how many people have come up to them and said how they changed their lives or how touched they were with their work on "Glee". Even Neil Patrick Harris who won the Emmy over O'Malley called him out in his acceptance speech about how important his work was.
And what about all the psychos and fetishists whose lives have been changed by "American Horror Story" ??
Well, at least I won a Golden Globe and an Emmy!
R7 They already cast the main roles, when it was still going to be a theatrical release.
Mark Ruffalo was cast as Ned Weeks, Matt Bomer as his boyfriend Felix Turner (the Tony winning role), Julia Roberts as doctor Emma Brookner (another Tony winning role), Alec Baldwin as Ned's brother and Jim Parsons in the same role he played on Broadway.
Of course nobody knows if the cast will remain the same now, when it's going to be an HBO movie.
[quote]Bitch, you did it first with "Angels in America"...
Glenn, I received my first Emmy in 1978 for my second TV outing, Holocaust. Don't worry dear will get you an Oscar....maybe if we do Baby Jane we can do that thing where I go for lead and you go for supporting (a la Viola and Octavia) and they can just give you the award as a career achievement thing like they did with Ruth Gordon and Helen Hayes when they were in their dotage (as you are now.) All my best. Sorry I missed Damages but you know how bad I am with downloading and on demand type stuff. Well you be working on a major network soon?
Mark Ruffalo tweeted that he is still a part of the cast and that filming probably starts in June.
No info about the rest of the cast.
While everything is possible with Roberts, Baldwin and Parsons, I doubt that Bomer is still on board (maybe that's why he was the only one not mentioned in the original announcement). June is a middle of filming for his show, White Collar, and I doubt that network would give him free time to film TNH. Not to mention that his role is the most demanding physically. First he would need about 4 weeks to film his pre-illness scenes, then loose all the weight and then film the other scenes. IMO impossible for an actor who is playing lead on the TV show, which is in the middle of filming.
Was Ned Weeks a bottom?
What a clash of egos. I agree that the play needs to be, as they say, opened up for the screen, Barbra is the wrong one for the job. She would have made the doctor the main character--and played the role herself.
Until her son comes clean himself, I could never respect her being part of this project, anyway.
At least, HBO is subscription tv. The show doesn't have to break every ten minutes for a commercial where some kid insults their parents.
[quote]Was Ned Weeks a bottom?
He was when Raul played him
From The Hollywood Reporter:
It's Official: Ryan Murphy's 'Normal Heart' Adaptation Comes to HBO in 2014.
The project, first reported in early 2012, will star Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.
HBO is moving forward with its adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter a year ago.
The telepic based on the Tony-winning play, from executive producer and director Ryan Murphy, will go into production this year -- with a premiere eyed for 2014. Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer will star.
"We are so proud to be involved with this monumental project,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “Ryan has assembled an extraordinary cast to bring Larry Kramer’s landmark theatrical achievement to the screen for the first time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this important film to HBO.”
This is the first time the EP and co-creator behind Glee, American Horror Story and The New Normal has worked with HBO. He directed Roberts in the 2010 adaptation of Eat Pray Love.
Normal Heart takes place in New York City during the early-'80s onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Roberts plays a paraplegic physician working with some of the earliest patients of the disease. The play debuted in 1985 at New York's Public Theatre and since has been revived in Los Angeles, London, off-Broadway and on Broadway in 2011.
Murphy is joined by Jason Blum (The Reader), Dede Gardner (Eat Pray Love) and Dante Di Loreto (Glee, Temple Grandin) as EPs.