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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Producer Ryan Murphy says it was "sort of thrilling" to feature openly gay leading men Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons in his new HBO TV movie, an AIDS drama.

Murphy said social attitudes have changed a great deal even in the five years he's been working on the project, "The Normal Heart." But Murphy said he didn't seek out any actors for the drama based on their sexuality, only on their skill.

Bomer stars in USA's crime caper "White Collar" series, and Parsons is the Emmy Award-winning star of the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory."

The HBO film, adapted from Larry Kramer's 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS crisis, also stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Taylor Kitsch.