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'The Normal Heart': Larry Kramer, Julia Roberts and more from HBO set

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“Writers are given one great story to tell their story. I’m telling my story as a political document.”

Larry Kramer, the pioneering LGBT activist and playwright, gets another chance to tell his powerful tale about facing the HIV-AIDS crisis in the early ’80s via HBO’s The Normal Heart,. Based on Kramer’s Tony-winning play of the same name, Ryan Murphy’s buzzy adaptation has attracted the likes of Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons (who also appeared in the play’s 2011 Broadway revival), Matt Bomer and Taylor Kitsch to its starry cast. The result is one of this year’s most anticipated projects.

Below, enjoy this early invitation behind the scenes of the film’s set, and hear from Kramer, Roberts, Ruffalo and more as they shed light on what goes into an influential production like The Normal Heart.

The Normal Heart premieres on May 25 at 9 p.m. on HBO.