According to Deadline, President Obama made a "surprise call" to Ryan Murphy yesterday after he watched HBO's The Normal Heart to tell the director that "he loved the film and found it incredibly moving."
Obama supposedly asked Murphy how the film came together, and he explained how Kramer had been trying to get his Tony-winning play adapted to the screen for three decades. Murphy took on what would become a passion project for him in 2010. He told Out, the reason why he cast Matt Bomer in the role of Felix (opposite Mark Ruffalo as Ned) was because “Matt, out of everybody, fought the hardest for it. It was that same passion that I had used to persuade Larry Kramer to give me the rights to the play.”
Murphy confirmed getting the call to Deadline, adding: “The whole movie is about Larry trying to get the attention of Washington and 30 years later, to get a call from the President is a full-circle moment.”
Ryan Murphy, No. 6 on Out's annual Power List, hosted a major fundraiser for Obama at his house in 2012.
The TV and film director was on the cover of the May 2013 issue of Out and was described as a "David Geffen for the 21st Century." He explained to us:
“When I first started working in the entertainment industry, it was out of the question to have an authentically gay character on television. Forget it! Forget it.” On his first TV show, Popular, a WB teen dramedy set in the Hobbesian world of public high school, Murphy would get notes from the network criticizing his straight characters as “too gay.” Other shows he pitched around town with gay characters, or even straight characters “with a gay sensibility,” as Murphy describes them, were turned down for being too polarizing and unfamiliar to audiences. “Now it’s like, if you don’t have a gay character, something is wrong with your show.”
Read about The Normal Heart's historical and future impact here. The Normal Heart is available on HBOGo and OnDemand. Watch: "The Fight Continues," a short documentary by Ryan Murphy about the events leading up to the AIDS crisis: