There was no night Larry King kissed me but he did chat me up more than once. We'd run into one another at the Korean deli off the corner when ordering coffee and breakfast for take-out. He'd been walking his dog. We only made small talk and never discussed The Normal Heart, oddly. I also never mentioned that I'd worked for many years at his brother's law firm of Kramer, Levin, Nessen, Kamin and Saul (as they were titled when I was employed there). Just lighthearted chatter. I was surprised how affable he seemed as I heard he could be difficult.
Kramer originally sold the rights of his AIDS drama to Barbra Streisand in the '80s but the two feuded over her adaptation of The Normal Heart and artistic differences ultimately thwarted the making of that film. Ahead of the HBO release, the two were still fighting. According to Playbill:
In an interview with the New York Times, Kramer, who attended the recent New York City screening of the film, said that the thought of two men having sex on screen was "very distasteful" to Streisand.
"I said [to Barbra Streisand], 'I really think it's important that after eons of watching men and women make love in the movies, it's time to see two men do so,'" Kramer told the Times. "I bought her a book of very beautiful art pictures of two men making love, and she found it very distasteful.In response, Streisand released a statement saying her intention for the movie was "to promote the idea of everyone's right to love. Gay or straight!"
The HBO film version of the play seems flawless; opened up beautifully and directed with passion and control by Ryan Murphy. Performances are sturdy across the board, especially Mark Ruffalo in the lead role and Julia Roberts as the acerbic, wheelchair-bound Dr. Emma Brookner (the role Streisand coveted). Technical aspects are top-notch.
Very highly recommended but unlikely you'd want to watch a second time until you catch your breath from your first experience.