Jonathan Groff to star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Normal Heart' film

Stage and screen star Jonathan Groff has joined the cast of Ryan Murphy's "The Normal Heart," an HBO film about the early days of the  AIDS epidemic in New York City.

Groff, who recently appeared in the Mark Taper Forum's production of "Red," will play Craig, an AIDS patient and lover to banker-turned-activist Bruce Niles, played by Taylor Kitsch of "Friday Night Lights."

The film adaptation, penned by Larry Kramer, is based on Kramer's 1985 landmark play of the same name. Production is slated to start this summer, with an opening aimed for 2014.

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Groff, who had a guest spot on Murphy's Fox series "Glee," joins an all-star cast including Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer (“White Collar”), as well as Tony-winner Joe Mantello and Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”), who both starred in the 2011 Broadway revival.

The on-screen debut of "The Normal Heart" has been decades in the making. In the 1980s, Barbra Streisand was set to direct, but a tug-of-war with Kramer over rewrites and financing eventually stalled the production.


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