The Washington Post

Michael Douglas, Matt Damon talk Liberace and ‘Behind the Candelabra’

Nearly 30 years after the death of Liberace, TV critics don’t seem to know what to make of seeing Michael Douglas play the renowned pianist/flamboyant entertainer — much less Matt Damon playing his lover — in the HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra.”

Director Steven Soderbergh, actors Michael Douglas, and Matt Damon. (Frederick M. Brown/GETTY IMAGES)

“Very attractive,” responded Damon, who plays Scott Thorson, Liberace’s much-younger lover and author of the book “Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace,” on which the HBO flick is based.

Another critic thought it must have “jolted” Douglas to wear Liberace’s trademark outre costumes, and to shoot scenes in the Liberace-esque settings.

Damon, meanwhile, got asked to discuss the difference between “regular glamour” and “Liberace glamour.”

(Damon apparently spent more time in wardrobe for this movie than in his previous 15 projects and insisted that he thoroughly enjoyed it.)

Then Douglas got asked what his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, had to say “when she saw you dressed like that.”

“Where have you been all my life?” Douglas guessed, assuring critics that she’s very proud of the picture.

“Did she offer you input in any way?” the critic persisted.

“You mean suggesting how I did my makeup?” Douglas snapped.

Have you ever felt that you would like to bang someone on the head with something hard and heavy? It was kind of like that.

Douglas noted that a dozen years ago, when he was working on “Traffic” with Steven Soderbergh, the director asked him: “Have you ever thought about Liberace?”

“I looked at him and said, ‘Is this guy messing with me?’ ” Douglas admitted.

“How many men did you say that to in the last 10 years?” a critic asked Soderbergh, who directed “Candelabra.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of my opening line,” Soderbergh snarked.



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