HBO Movie 'The Normal Heart' Marks Julia Roberts Return to TV

When we saw the new trailer for HBO's newest TV movie, The Normal Heart , we were stunned. The trailer, which is the first we've seen to promote HBO's newest venture in film, chronicles the lives of an LGBT community in the mid-1980s during the initial spread of HIV and AIDS. Mark Ruffalo leads the film as Ned Weeks, a gay writer working to publicize the growing disease, while Matt Bomer stars as Weeks' lover. While both Ruffalo and Bomer's faces were undeniably recognizable, the most noticeable face in the crowd was television newcomer and mega movie star Julia Roberts.

Roberts plays Dr. Emma Brookner, a doctor who is working to conduct research on the disease and garner funding from the government. This role marks Roberts' first major role on television and her official return to drama.

We've seen Roberts make cameo appearances as a guest star on Law and Order, Friends, and Miami Vice; she also happened to have starred in a television movie all the way back in 1988 called Baja Oklahoma. It was as uneventful as the title suggests. Aside from those brief stints, we've come to regard Roberts as the queen of the big screen, with major films under her belt such as Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, and Mona Lisa Smile.

Therefore, when we learned that Roberts was appearing in a television movie, we were a bit surprised, but figured she was following the trend of her notable fellow actors, like Matthew McConaughey, who are now taking dynamic roles on television. From the trailer, we can tell Roberts, whose character is also wheelchair ridden, will deliver a stunning dramatic performance—and we're even more thrilled to notice that she is redirecting her film career toward more dramatic roles.

From 2010 to 2013, Roberts starred in romantic comedies and melodramas like Larry Crown, Mirror, Mirror, and Valentine's Day. Up until this year's Oscar season, it seemed Roberts had dropped off the map with cheekier roles rather than award-worthy performances, but in 2013, she proved she could jump back into the saddle with her critically acclaimed role as Barbara Weston in August and now, in The Normal Heart.

While we doubt we'll see any sign of her signature smile in this serious tale, we're thrilled nonetheless to see her in another film so quickly. Make sure to tune into HBO on Sunday, March 25.

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