To get into character for his role in the HBO original movie The Normal Heart, Matt Bomer had to lose upwards of 35 pounds.
In the film, Bomer is almost unrecognizable and he wanted to make sure that his three children, who he has with his husband Simon Halls, knew that he was healthy in real life. His character, a New York Times reporter, contracted AIDS in the 1980s and is dying, thus the extreme weight loss.
“We definitely prepared our kids really early on, before I even started losing weight,” the White Collar and Magic Mike actor said. “I spoke with a professional who told me how to relay it to them in language they could really understand, and they were great about it. Maybe it’s a luxury of having all boys, who are like ‘Yeah! Go!’ You know, it’s like they were my cheering squad.”
“And I remember, at one point I had lost 25 or 30 pounds and I came home, and it’s such a testament to childhood imagination, because they were like, ‘Oh, I thought you were going to be skinnier than that.’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I’m working here!'” Bomer continued. “But they were really great about it, and understanding. I think that our oldest son, who tends to be a caretaker, said at one point, ‘When are you going to get to eat pancakes with me again?’ But that was about as difficult as it seemed to get for them.”
Thank you to everyone who watched The Normal Heart tonight. Larry Kramer- you are my hero. #36million
— Matt Bomer (@MattBomer) May 26, 2014
Bomer first read The Normal Heart while in high school, and when he learned that Ryan Murphy would be creating a film adaptation, he knew instantly that he wanted to be a part of the film in any way possible. “I just wanted to be involved with the project in some capacity,” he said. “I didn’t care what my part was.” He never thought that he would land the lead role, but Murphy did.
“Matt was the first person I felt would do whatever it took to be true to the history of the part and to the millions of people who have died because of this disease,” Murphy explained. “I needed somebody who was a protector of that. That meant going on a really dangerous, incredibly severe diet and going to a dark place emotionally.”
And that is exactly what Bomer did. He even left his family for a full month so that he could get into his character’s mind and prepare himself physically and emotionally for his part.
“It was sort of one month of casual weight loss and then two months of really aggressive weight loss, and that’s when I left my family, toward the end of the second month, and then just lived on my own in New York and really tried to focus on really solely what Felix was going through,” he said. “I obviously consulted someone and I prepared our kids as best I could, but I felt it was best for me to be away at that point in time until I sort of finished the project and could start eating again.”
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