A lot of people are still angry at Mark Ruffalo because he landed the part of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Marvel’s The Avengers. Yes, the absence of Edward Norton sucks, but Ruffalo is a really talented actor who deserves a break. According to MTV, he’ll have the opportunity to flex his leading man muscle in the drama, The Normal Heart. Glee creator and Eat, Pray, Love helmer Ryan Murphy confirmed that he’ll direct the film that centers on the early AIDS crisis that took place in the mid-eighties.

The Normal Heart has a screenplay written by Larry Kramer who also wrote the semi-autobiographical play from which it’s based.

The story focuses on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Ned prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner, none of whom are prepared to throw themselves into the media spotlight. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal.

Ruffalo will play the lead character, who is similar to Kramer in a lot of ways. Murphy stated, “I think it’s an important story and I think Mark Ruffalo is just beyond brilliant so I’m very excited to be directing him.”

Even though Ruffalo is stepping into the limelight with his new Marvel connection, it’s nice to see that his “heart” is still rooted in character driven material with good stories. Not to say that comic book movies can’t be character driven (Christopher Nolan proved that), but they aren’t his bread and butter. He does his best work when there’s less flash and gloss.

What do you think of Murphy and Ruffalo working on The Normal Heart?