'The Normal Heart': It Wasn't Just the A-Listers Who Stole the Show
Ryan Murphy's small screen adaptation of the award-winning play The Normal Heart boasted one of the most impressive casts imaginable to help tell Larry Kramer's important, shocking story about the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980's. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts lead the A-list cast in the HBO film, which debuted last night. And while all of the marquee-friendly names gave incredible, Emmy-worthy performances (Bomer, Kitsch, and Parsons, in particular), the entire ensemble was something to marvel at. (From notable stars such as Jonathan Groff, Corey Stoll, and BD Wong to up-and-comers like Frank De Julio and Adam Shapiro, there was not a weak performance to be found in The Normal Heart.)
In fact, if you watched The Normal Heart on Sunday evening, you've probably spent a good portion of your Monday reeling from all of the devastating performances in the film. That's why The Normal Heart's supporting men like Joe Mantello (who gave, arguably, the best monologue in the entire thing), Alfred Molina, and Finn Wittrock deserve a moment of recognition for their profound work as well. Here's how you know three of the film's understated stars, and where you'll see them next.
Who He Played in The Normal Heart: Mickey Marcus
Powerhouse Moment: When an exhausted (in every sense of the world) Mickey tells Ned (Ruffalo) how he feels about his crusade, and how his words have had a devastating effect on him, and all of those around him.
Where You Know Him: Mantello is a Tony-winning Broadway veteran whose credits include Angels in America, Wicked, Assassins, Take Me Out, as well as the 2011 revival of The Normal Heart, in which he played the role of Ned Weeks, a performance that earned him a Tony nomination. In addition to acting, Mantello is also an esteemed director both on stage (The Ritz) and screen (Love! Valour! Compassion!).
Where You'll See Him Next: He's currently the director of the Tony-nominated play Casa Valentina .
Who He Played in The Normal Heart: Ben Weeks
Powerhouse Moment: When he finally makes amends with his brother Ned and meets Ned's partner Felix (Bomer) under some harrowing circumstances.
Where You Know Him: Oh, pretty much everywhere. The versatile character actor has played everyone from Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 to Satipo in Raiders of the Lost Ark to Diego Rivera in Frida. If you've seen a movie in the last 35 years, there's a good chance you've seen Alfred Molina in it.
Where You'll See Him Next: Molina has no less than five film credits this year, including the critically praised New York City drama Love is Strange (a film festival crowd-pleaser), in which he plays the husband of John Lithgow.
Who He Played in The Normal Heart: Albert
Powerhouse Moment: When his partner Bruce (Kitsch) takes him home to die, a disoriented, fading Albert has a horrific last few moments on Earth. (What happens to him after he passes is perhaps the most gut-wrenching thing in the entire movie.)
Where You Know Him: Why as Dale on Masters of Sex, of course! Wittrock gained fame by playing Damon for two years on All My Children, and has since moved on to appear in shows like Criminal Minds and Torchwood, as well as movies like Noah and Winter's Tale.
Where You'll See Him Next: In Angelina Jolie's Unbroken .
Images: HBO; Getty Images