This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of watching Steven Soderbergh moderate a Q&A with Shane Carruth after a sold-out mid-afternoon screening of his incredible new film Upstream Color. Of course, Soderbergh, "retired director" asked a sprinkling of serious questions about the film but also went on to question such things as: for all the pigs in the film, why were there no cats? And so on. But when not interviewing beloved young directors for awestruck audiences, Soderbergh is currently putting out the highly-anticipated Liberace drama for HBO, Behind the Candelabra. In an interview back in January, he said that the film was, "really fun. The world of it was just bananas. It was great to see Michael [Douglas] and Matt [Damon] jump off the cliff together. Nobody can accuse them of being shy. They just went for it. It’s pretty gay."
Douglas and Damon take center stage in the film that focuses on Liberace and Scott Thorson—his companion/lover/friend. And with wonderufl a new trailer released, this looks to surely surpass the glitz and chintz, as the actors provide a deep emotional base for the story as they disappear into their characters. We also get a look at Rob Lowe as a plastic surgeon, Dan Aykroyd as Liberace’s manager, and Debbie Reynolds as Frances Liberace. And although it will be premiering on HBO on May 26th the film will have its debut at Cannes earlier in the month as well.
Check out the new trailer and stills from the film, thanks to The Playlist.
Several weeks ago, we were all aflutter at the prospect of David Mamet’s HBO biopic of producer Phil Spector, featuring Al Pacino donning an enormous ‘fro, and then when it aired, we were left shrugging our shoulders about it all. But HBO’s not out of the biopics-of-enigmatic-musical-figures-with-amazing-hair game yet. Over the weekend, we saw another brief but intriguing look at Behind the Candelabra: The Secret Life of Liberace, Steven Soderbergh’s long-brewing made-for-TV film about the life and work of the legendary pianist and entertainer.
Michael Douglas plays the singer, awash in pompadours and sequins, seen in the teaser grinning and showing off his plumage and trying to channel the charm that made the masses fall in love. But it’s Matt Damon, who plays Liberace’s boyfriend Scott Thorson (who wrote the memoir upon which Soderbergh’s film is based), who steals the trailer, even if he barely says a word. It’s the hair. Somewhere between Starsky and Hutch and Bon Jovi, it’s a sight to behold, staying intact under Sgt. Pepper-style military hats and even while he’s in a hot tub with Douglas, drinking champagne. Man, the ’70s were quite a decade, weren’t they? Watch the teaser for the film, which premieres May 26th, below.
More often than not, Michael Douglas seems to play a rich guy being cheated on or a rich guy cheating on someone. This isn’t a bad thing–when a movie calls for a wealthy guy caught in some sort of intrigue or drama, Michael Douglas is a casting agent’s best bet to knock it out of the park. His latest rich guy role may be his most challenging: Douglas is set to play Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Liberace isn’t just any old rich guy, like Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction. He’s not a sinister, greedy rich guy like Gordon Gecko or a rich guy ensnared in a twisted game like Nicholas Van Orton in the appropriately titled The Game. Liberace is a rich guy who got rich through his prodigious piano skills and flamboyant lifestyle. The Daily NewsreportsBehind the Candelabra will depict that famously outrageous lifestyle and focus on Liberace’s relationship with his younger lover Scott Thorson, who will be played by Matt Damon.
While a closeted, bedazzled TV pianist may seem like a stretch for Michael Douglas, consider the following Liberace quote from a letter to a critic who panned his music. “Thank you for your very amusing review,” Liberace wrote, “After reading it, in fact, my brother George and I laughed all the way to the bank.” See, he’s all rich guy.