Looks like it'll be television giant Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee) in the directing chair for the first film version of Larry Kramer's AIDS drama The Normal Heart. That righteously angry 80s play, which has long flummoxed would be adapters (most famously Barbra Streisand), was all the rage on Broadway this past season during its revival (I was less impressed than most but boy did the Tonys love it).
According to Playbill Murphy is planning on going with Mark Ruffalo in the lead role of Ned Weeks and wants his Eat Pray Love diva Julia Roberts in the awards-magnet supporting part of "Doctor Death". That part won Ellen Barkin the Tony and throat pains (we're guessing. It's very shouty!) but apparently not enough renewed career heat to get her an offer for the film version. Between this role and "Barbara" the eldest daughter in August: Osage County Julia seems to cornered the market on famously angry/exhausted stage-to-screen female roles.
But before we scream "Oscars all around in February 2013!", it's wise to remember (always) that that stage-to-screen teleportation magic is an eternally difficult trick to master. Murphy is enjoying great success with Glee but both of his films thus far, Eat Pray Love (2010) or Running With Scissors (2006), have had mixed results critically and at the box office. One of the dangers of success is that artists get spread very thin and that could obviously be a problem here with Glee still going strong despite its own occasional "spread to thin" feel.
But we wish him good luck. He was once the president of a Meryl Streep fan club ferchrissakes. And though I couldn't find the copy that interview that Playbill is quoting he supposedly recently expressed regret that he had to turn down writing the Annie remake meant for Willow Smith, saying:
So now she's got Emma Thompson who is 50 million times better than me. LOVE HER.
So, see? Murphy really loves actresses and musicals. The Film Experience officially has no choice but to root for him.