Matt Damon plays the lover of Liberace in a biopic about the musician’s life, but fans who want to see the movie won’t be able to watch it in theaters.
According to Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, the upcoming movie Behind the Candelabra, starring Matt Damon as Liberace’s lover and Michael Douglas as the musician, was deemed “too gay” by studios. So instead of getting a theatrical release, it is debuting on HBO.
“Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town,” Soderberg toldTheWrap at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “We needed $5 million. Nobody would do it.”
Soderberg said he was shocked that no studio wanted to front the $5 million necessary, especially given that the Liberace biopic stars Matt Damon and comes to Hollywood after the success of other movies with homosexual relationships.
“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.”
In the movie, Matt Damon plays Scott Thorson, Liberace’s lover. Thorson met Liberace as a teenager and became part of the musician’s over-the-top stage act, the Los Angeles Times noted.
Thorson later sued Liberace, claiming that the musician promised to take care of him financially for the rest of his life and failed to follow though. They settled out of court in 1986, the same year Liberace died.
For Matt Damon, the Liberace movie prompted a response to age-old rumors that the actor is gay. Damon said he heard the rumors often early in his career, but chose never to address them because he didn’t feel there was anything wrong with being gay that warranted a correction.
About Behind the Candelabra, Damon said the movie shines true as a love story.
“They had profound love for each other,” Matt Damon said of Liberace and Thorson.