The HBO film takes an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial. This subject matter couldn’t be more relevant with the recent drafting of the first openly gay NFL player Michael Sam. This moment not only showed how far we have come as a society, but still how far we have to go.
On May 12, HBO hosted the New York premiere of its film “The Normal Heart,” which is an adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play of the same name. The play is loosely based on Kramer’s life. AIDS was not a “gay” problem as people tried to assert at the time and since 1981 about 36 Million people have died from the disease. There is still no cure.
We spoke with actor Taylor Kitsch on the red carpet, check out what he had to say below:
Q: Can you tell us about the first time you read the script?
Taylor: I was in my living room in Austin, Texas and my manager called me, and she was like, “Stop what you’re doing. Read this now cause we got to hurry if we want this role, we’re fighting right away.” And then halfway through the script I stopped reading called, got them all on the phone and said, “Let’s fight for it.” And then I finished the script and called him back and there we go. Here we are.
Q: What drew you into the role?
Taylor: The story, the character, being scared, the risk. I love all that stuff. Obviously the cast, it’s self-explanatory. I just felt I could breathe life into this guy and do this story justice as an actor and I knew I was gonna grow up through this process.
Q: Are you excited for people to see a different side of you?
Taylor: Sure. I am. You know, you’re proud of you work and we put in God knows how much energy and hours into it. I just hope they’re taken by not just my work, but everyone’s.
Q: What do you say to the generation that missed the rise of the epidemic 1980’s? What do you hope the main takeaway is?
Taylor: It’s still relevant. It’s still a global issue and I think that’s something we can all pay attention to a little bit more. We’re all guilty of being in our own little bubbles and especially with media now it’s like…we’re in the now and then it’s on to the next thing 10 seconds later. We’ve kind of been numb to it all and I think this story will hopefully square you away for the two hours and make you pay attention with the fight and be heard.
Q: How do you unwind after such a hard role?
Q: Can you speak about collaborating with Ryan Murphy?
Taylor: I loved it. I flew in from reading the script … I think it was the next day or a couple days later and we had an amazing first meeting. Fly back to Texas and then we’re just…I mean, silly long e-mail after e-mail of just vision from aesthetic to tone to everything.
Q: What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot?
Taylor: It wasn’t like one difficult one. The montage at the end wasn’t fun I’ll tell you that much. The plane scene isn’t fun to do. Just that it’s real and it happened, I think that’s what squares you away cause I’m just recreating something that unfortunately happened. It’s pretty tragic.
Q: How much input did you have in your character?
Taylor: A lot. I mean, even reading it I had a very strong ordeal of where I wanted to go with it. So it was more of just like this is how I feel and that just leads to conviction, which is everything as an actor.