In May HBO will bring us a biopic film on the life of the famed pianist Liberace titled Behind the Candelabra but today we get to check out two of the biopic stars on the cover of this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine. Michael Douglas plays Liberace and Matt Damon plays his longtime lover Scott Thorson in the film and this week’s issue of EW introduces us to the couple’s relationship in the film. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a big Liberace fan (who I only remember as the butt of jokes) but I have to say, the more I hear about this biopic film of his life, the more intrigued I become. Click below to see Michael and Matt on the cover of EW and check out a short trailer for HBO‘s Behind the Candelabra.
Yes, that really is Michael Douglas and Matt Damon under the prosthetic makeup, wigs, and crystal-trimmed suits — all part of their costumes for Behind the Candelabra, the new Steven Soderbergh-directed HBO movie (airing May 26) about the stranger-than-fiction romance between Liberace (Douglas) and his young lover, Scott Thorson (Damon) from 1978 to 1982. In this week’s issue, Damon and Douglas give a frank, funny interview about filming one of the weirdest, glitziest gay love stories ever put on film, one that required both actors to do things they’d never done before onscreen. Like, say, wearing a metallic thong — and nothing else. “Every Sunday night, this girl would come to my house and I would stand in my garage and I would hike my boxer briefs up into the crack of my a– and she would give me a spray tan,” explains Damon, who spends plenty of the movie in tiny swimsuits, and wasn’t too excited about his real-life wife seeing his bronzed backside. “We’ve been through three childbirths, we’ve been in the trenches, there are no secrets. But I really wish she didn’t see that. That’s too much.” Behind the Candelabra is based on Thorson’s 1988 memoir about Liberace’s over-the-top world of palatial houses, extravagant clothes, and secret affairs. (Liberace never publicly came out as gay before dying of AIDS in 1987.) It’s a world that Douglas actually witnessed first-hand, since his father, actor Kirk Douglas, was once Liberace’s neighbor in Palm Springs. “I remember meeting him just in passing, in his convertible with the top down — his hair not moving,” says the actor, who also got advice from one of Liberace’s close friends, Debbie Reynolds, who plays his mother in the film. “She just told me, ‘[Your voice] can never be too nasal.’” The movie is also Douglas’ first role since his cancer diagnosis in 2010, and the actor tells EW that beating the disease and returning to acting has been therapeutic for him. “It was great to get back,” he says. “It gave me a new appreciation for what I do, taking advantage of it.” As for their sex scenes together (and trust us, the movie has plenty), Damon and Douglas both say that shooting a moment of passion is always awkward, no matter who’s involved. “The scene where I’m behind him and going at him, we did that in one take,” recalls Damon, laughing. “We do it. Cut. There’s a long pause. And then you just hear Steven go, “Well… I have no notes.”
I have to admit, I always felt bad for the way that Liberace was mocked during his life. As I said, I only remember him as the butt of jokes. It’s so sad to me that he had to remain closeted because celebrities really did not come out as gay in the 80′s. I hope this film will do the man some justice and will give him some dignity. I’ll be checking out this movie when it premieres in May. Any Liberace fans out there? Does this look like something you’d like to see?