updated 04/18/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/18/2014 AT 5:35 PM ET
A powerful and emotional new trailer has been released for the upcoming and highly anticipated TV movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s 1985 play about the AIDS epidemic in New York City, The Normal Heart.
The HBO film, which premieres on May 25, dives into the early days of the crisis and the frightening impact of what was then a mysterious illness.
The film takes place in gay New York, circa 1981-1984, and charts the activism of writer and activist, Ned Weeks, who mounts a ferocious and near one-man battle to raise awareness and organize for research and help.
With a star-studded cast, including Julia Roberts playing driven Dr. Emma Brookner, who has polio and uses a wheelchair, and Mark Ruffalo in the star role of Weeks, the film adaptation mines the epic fear of the era and also the depth of love amid desperation.
“You are all going to infect each other,” Roberts, as Brookner, warns sternly of the looming epidemic.
“We have to do something. No one else will,” Ruffalo, as Weeks, says of his crusade.