With Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers Club, and now HBO’s The Normal Heart, it feels like Hollywood is finally ready to take a cold, hard look at the early ’80s AIDS epidemic and its response from society and government. This weekend, SiriusXM’s very own Michelangelo Signorile takes us inside the making of HBO’s adaptation of Larry Kramer’s iconic, award-winning stage play, with director Ryan Murphy.

First off, Murphy shares his early impressions of the AIDS epidemic and his personal experiences during the time the play debuted. “For me, I grew up thinking ‘Well, I’m gonna die.’ I thought ‘I’m gonna die’ every day. I always thought I was really on borrowed time, which is where I think a lot of my ambition came from,” he said.

Almost like an epiphany, the film got started when Murphy woke up one morning wondering what had become of the movie rights to The Normal Heart, which led to a meeting in NYC. “I thought ‘I’m not leaving this place until I get these damn rights, I don’t care what it takes.’ And it took a lot,” Murphy said of his meeting with The Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer.

The question often arises, what is it like to film sex scenes? Well, Murphy gave the most insightful description of the process that we’ve ever heard… and it does sound like a process. “It was a closed set. I’ve directed a lot of sex scenes in my career and I’ve realized the thing that you can do the most is two things. The first thing you can do is to treat the sex as choreography. So we hired a guy who now specializes in sex choreographer. And then my role was once I feel the actors are comfortable is I say ‘okay, now let’s just get into it,'” he explained.

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