Barbra Streisand on THE NORMAL HEART: 'I Tried Very Hard to Get It Made'
Streisand is credited with being the first filmmaker to realize the potential of turning the 1985 play, which follows the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., into a feature-length film. The actress held an option on the project for 10 years and continued her efforts to bring it to fruition even after that option expired.
With Ryan Murphy's small screen adaptation heading to HBO this May, Streisand gave THR her own account of the events that transpired as she tried to produce the film.
"When I saw The Normal Heart in 1985 I was very moved and immediately contacted Larry to acquire the rights," she begins. "I tried very hard to get it made, but when it became clear that we couldn't raise the money to do it as a film due to the controversial nature of the material, I thought, "All right, we'll do it on TV." At least it would reach a wide audience. But HBO would only pay Larry $250,000 for the rights, and he would not let it go forward for anything less than $1,000,000, and no company was willing to move on it."
She continued, "In the press, Larry kept speaking out against me. But I think it's unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay. Larry had the rights for the last 15 years and he couldn't get it made, either. Those are the facts."
In the end, Streisand is thrilled that the play has found its place on the cable network. "It's been 28 years since I tried to get this piece made ... so much has happened since. But I'm glad it's finally here."
About HBO's THE NORMAL HEART:
Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Emmy winner Jim Parsons and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts star in a Ryan Murphy film, HBO Films' presentation of THE NORMAL HEART, premiering May 25th.
Directed by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy ("Eat Pray Love," "Glee") and written by Academy Award nominee Larry Kramer ("Women in Love"), adapting his groundbreaking Tony Award-winning play of the same name, the drama tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS Crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.
The film also stars Alfred Molina ("An Education"), Tony Award winner Joe Mantello ("Law & Order"), Jonathan Groff(HBO's "Looking"), Denis O'Hare (HBO's "True Blood"), Stephen Spinella ("Milk"), Corey Stoll ("House of Cards"),Finn Wittrock ("Unbroken") and BD Wong (HBO's "Oz"). An HBO Films presentation of a Plan B and Blumhouse production in association with Ryan Murphy Productions, THE NORMAL HEART is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto ("Glee"), Jason Blum (the "Paranormal Activity" series), Brad Pitt ("Moneyball"), Dede Gardner ("12 Years a Slave"). Mark Ruffalo co-executive produces; Scott Ferguson (HBO's "Temple Grandin") produces.