AwardsLine: You’ve previously talked about filming your last scene with Mark Ruffalo, when your characters get married in the hospital room shortly before your character dies. Could you take us back to before you filmed that scene and what your expectations were going into it?
Matt Bomer: Well, at that point, we were nearing the end of filming, so Mark and I had been on quite a journey together in terms of Ned and Felix’s relationship. And I came to set, and it was one of those times where I got in the hospital bed and, you just trust that the physical and emotional preparation that you put into the material will be there. And you try to really get out of your own way and let this beautiful scene that Larry Kramer had written take over. I think I’d worked with all of the actors in the room already, and so we had a great deal of trust for each other, and we started on my close up, I believe.
It was one of those moments where they call “Action” and the scene just takes over. After we were done, Mark and I sat together and cried for a good deal of time, not in any self-congratulatory way. It was about experiencing through that scene what the reality was for so many people of that generation. Some of them obviously weren’t even lucky enough to say goodbye that way. I think the situation really hit home for us and took over. Mark and I were also realizing that we were coming to the end of an experience that we both committed to for a long time, and worked with every fiber of our being, to tell as truthfully as possible.
AwardsLine: The argument scene between your characters on Fire Island also was gut-wrenching, but honest. You had lost so much weight by the time you filmed it. How hard is it to approximate that level of realness?
Bomer: That scene has been iconic for me for over 20 years. I had signed on to this film before it was an HBO project, back in 2011, so I had the material for a good deal of time. At that point in the (filming) process, I was more or less living as Felix. I was separated from my family. I did not have a lot of energy. I wasn’t feeling great. I had complete trust in Mark as my scene partner, because he’s one of those actors who makes everyone around them better, and I knew that he was going to be present for that moment.
So much of this was in my prayer every day before I came to work. This project is so much bigger than me or any of the actors involved, and it deals with a very specific part of our history, and I felt a tremendous responsibility to those individuals. And so my part every day was to get out of my own way, and just channel whatever came through me—after putting all the work into it, obviously by being available for whatever happened that was beyond me when they called “Action.”
One of the things that I love about Ned and Felix, and that was so profound, and that I learned so much from as a person, is that (the disease) did follow them down a darker path of what this illness did to people’s relationships, and the strain that it put on them… And so I wanted to embrace them more—the sort of uglier moments in the relationship—because I knew that it would hopefully at some point have payoff. After that scene, Felix realizes that he has to do the most he can with the amount of time he has left.
AwardsLine: Is approaching a movie like this, and some of these scenes, scary or just something that you have to be fearless about?
Bomer: I remember Mark and I looking at each other on the first day of filming; it was that first scene in the New York Times office. And he said, “Are you scared?” I said, “Yeah. You?” And he said, “Yeah.” I think we both knew the challenge that lay before us. And for me, a lot of people like to talk about the weight loss or the scenes that took place at the end. Some of the more difficult scenes were in the beginning, when we were establishing that relationship and creating that foundation because we had to set that up properly for the end to have any type of resonance. We were both terrified on day one.
For more go to Deadline.com
You’re an Emmy voter, but you can’t vote for yourself or your show. Who’s at the top of your ballot?
Ryan Murphy for directing “The Normal Heart.” Robin Wright for “House of Cards.” Matt Bomer for “The Normal Heart” and Margo Martindale for “The Americans.” And anyone in the cast of “Orange Is the New Black.” Anyone. And the show itself. Every single category for “Orange Is the New Black.” [thewrap]
Matt Bomer and Lee Pace are currently two of Hollywood’s hottest stars, but 20 years ago, they were simply two students at Klein High School in Spring, Texas — as the newly surfaced above photo spotlights.
“He was a year older than me,” Pace told BuzzFeed in May of Bomer. In addition to being “friends for years,” the two co-starred in many plays together. “We did The Diary of Anne Frank,” he added. “He was Mr. van Daans and I was Mr. Dussel.”
Pace and Bomer also discovered Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart together, thanks to their high school drama team. Coincidentally, Pace went on to make his Broadway debut in the 2011 revival, while Bomer starred in HBO’s 2014 production of the play.
“The fact we had that play in our hands, in this very conservative area of Texas, is extraordinary,” Pace said of the groundbreaking drama about the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the ’80s. “It opened my mind and I feel really lucky we had those plays [because] communities need leaders with strong ideas, even if those leaders are kids — kids who are like, I don’t care what you think. Those seeds get planted early.” [buzzfeed]