Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are set to star in HBO's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, which will be directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Candelabra has been kicking around the TV scene for years. Back in 2009, stories announced the casting of Douglas as the legendary piano player/entertainer, with Damon as his much-younger lover Scott Thorson.
The film, which was under the working title Liberace, will look at the pianist's relationship with Thorson, at a time when coming-out could kill a career.
Liberace, also known for his flashy, sparkling outfits, was a Las Vegas fixture in the 1950s, and a frequent guest on shows like Ed Sullivan and The Tonight Show, as well as his own weekday program. Producer Jerry Weintraub, however, told Show Tracker that that he wanted to explore the Liberace few knew.
I wanted people to see the other side of Liberace, Weitraub said. He was a fun guy and a brilliant artist... He was Elton John and Lady Gaga before they even dreamed of it.
Coming as it does during National Coming Out Day, it's a refreshing change to hear how blasé Damon and Douglas are about lip-locking for Candelabra.
What kind of Chapstick are you using this week, sweetie? Douglas reportedly texted Damon. The actor, best known for his role as tough guy Jason Bourne, took the sentiment to heart.
It's scripted that there's more than one [kiss], the actor told E! Online in March. I never thought I would get to kiss Michael Douglas!
Weitraub is similarly passionate about bringing the more private, tender side of Liberace to the screen. As a lover, Liberace was not performing. With live-in lover Thorson, he could be himself. He had two sides to his life, Weitraub said. He was living in two polar-opposite worlds. And I wanted to show that dynamic.
Soderbergh has also expressed excitement for the Las Vegas biopic. Best known for such films as Sex, Lies and Videotape, Traffic (starring Douglas), and the Vegas-casino-set Ocean remakes (starring Damon), he is scheduled to start shooting summer of 2012.