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At the Television Critics Association Winter press tour on Friday, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas and director Steven Soderbergh talked about Behind the Candelabra, their anticipated Liberace biopic. The film will premiere on HBO and stars Douglas as Liberace and Damon as the legendary singer’s lover, Scott Thorson.
With such talent behind and in front of the camera with a well-known icon as the subject, you would think that the major studios would be rushing to make the movie, but that wasn’t the case. “Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town,” Soderbergh told The Wrap during the event. “We needed $5 million. Nobody would do it.”
Still, it would have only cost $5 million to make, so why wasn’t anyone interested? “They said it was too gay. Everybody. This was after Brokeback Mountain, by the way. Which is not as funny as this movie. I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us,” the Traffic director explained.
As for the subject of the film itself, Douglas and Soderbergh aimed to show the human side of Liberace. According to Reuters, the Wall Street actor called it “a great love story.”
“This is a couple that felt for each other. There's a lot of joyful moments; there is humor to it,” Douglas explained.
Damon spoke about the lavish costumes, which he enjoyed wearing. “I’ve always been somebody who goes into the wardrobe fitting and I just try to get out,” he explained, reports Access Hollywood. “I try to get out as fast as I can. When they ask me what kind of shoes — at this point — I look for the most comfortable shoes, I look for the most comfortable clothes. I just kind of can’t be bothered with it, but this was a very specific thing and I probably spent more time in the wardrobe fittings on this thing than I had, had on the previous 15 projects. Literally days and days and days.”
Damon joked that he though Douglas was “very, very attractive” as Liberace.
Behind the Candelabra is based on Thorson’s book of the same name. Liberace, who tried to keep their relationship secret during his life, died in 1987 at age 67.
The film is slated to air this spring.