Looking and The Normal Heart Revelations at TCA

1.10.2014

By Out.com Editors

Panels on HBO's answer to Queer As Folk and the film version of the Larry Kramer play reveal some morsels

In case you didn’t make it to the TCA (Television Critics Association) Press Tour, then you just missed the “cable” days. HBO had the gayest news coming out of TCA with a panel on The Normal Heart, based on Tony-winning Larry Kramer’s AIDS crists play. Deadline.com was there and noted some of the panelists’ remarks.

Director Ryan Murphy said the new movie version of The Normal Heart includes 45% new material by Kramer. He continued: “It’s very modern to me… Gay marriage is in the news, and people are fighting to be loved for who they are and to be accepted for who they are. That’s still very modern and applicable for the way we’re living today… At the end of the movie we talk about President Reagan and his legacy, and Ed Koch and his legacy” — without whom, Murphy said, the HIV-AIDS crisis “could have been much less tragic.”

The film, which will premiere in May, stars Mark Ruffalo (below, shirtless), Matt Bomer (above in his first shirtless scene for White Collar in 2014), and Julia Roberts, who told the audience that she initially passed on the film until watching a documentary about polio (her character has polio) and it taught her “what that experience was like for the country and the world” and that, “unlocked the door for who this woman is for me.”

The panel for HBO’s Looking, about a trio of gay men in their 30s in San Francisco, included Jonathan Groff, creator and writer Michael Lannan, and executive producer Andrew Haigh, along with actors Frankie J. Alvarez (pictured below in a makeout scene from the first episode), Murray Bartlett, and Raul Castillo.

Groff on the driving stories: “All the characters are gay, but that’s not the big issue in their lives. It’s not coming out stories. Lannan added, “It is such a different time now there are a lot of pressures that gay people have from their parents that they didn’t have before, like getting married… Welcome to the mainstream, what do you do now?”

Haigh notes, “Its not just a show for gay people,” and joked with Groff, “there are some people on the street that you walk by that are straight.” Even in San Franscisco? Said Lannan, “I hadn’t seen the San Francisco that I knew onscreen. So we went for a new way to portray San Francisco, the lived-in look and the rough edges… There’s a lot of gay history there and we thought that was good backdrop to investigate the characters.”

Looking premieres January 19.

Actor Frankie J. Alvarez (left) in the first episode of 'Looking'

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