With just two months to go before Behind The Candelabra, Steven Sodebergh’s Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, the first teaser has arrived.
The 38 second clip amounts to a little more than a credit roll, but it does the job of announcing Academy Award winners Soderbergh, Damon and Douglas, and Jerry Weintraub as executive producer, along with its premiere date.
In Behind the Candelabra, Douglas plays flamboyant pianist-vocalist Wladziu Valentino Liberace (known as simply Liberace) while Damon plays his lover Scott Thorson.
The made-for-TV biopic promises an understanding of the couple’s five-year relationship, homophobia in the late 1970’s/1980’s, their descent into tabloid acrimony, and Liberace’s eventual battle with AIDS-related pneumonia, which resulted in his death at the age of 67 in 1987.
Not at all coincidentally, Damon and Douglas also adorn the front cover this week’s Entertainment Weekly which hits newsstands on March 8.
Veteran actor, Douglas, 68, who is returning to acting after his 2010 battle with throat cancer, revealed his bemused reaction to being offered the part:
“I thought [Soderbergh] was messing with me. Then he sent me pictures, I saw a faint resemblance, and then we kind of forgot about it.”
For his part, Damon recalled a time when he and Douglas were staying at the same hotel while his casting in Behind the Candelabra was still coalescing.
“Michael and I were staying at the same hotel, so I sent a note up to his room saying, ‘Hey, it’s your boyfriend!,'”says Damon. “And he was like, ‘What is he talking about?’ But after that, when we knew we were going to do the movie together for sure, I bumped into [Douglas] somewhere and he tapped me on the shoulder and went, ‘Get your ChapStick ready!'”
Proving the six degrees of Hollywood meme is always in effect, Damon also talked about his connection with Douglas before they finally worked together on ‘Candelabra.
“Michael produced The Rainmaker, which was one of my big breaks. So we met briefly then back in ’96,” he says. “And then through the years, Steven’s little group bumps into each other. Then in ’07, Steven gave me [Scott Thorson’s] book. He had already come up to Michael on the set of Traffic in 2000 and said, ‘Have you ever thought of playing Liberace?'”
As for their sex scenes together, of which there are reportedly many, Damon and Douglas both said that shooting sex scenes are 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.'”
Anticipation about the biopic is high, not just because of its stellar cast but also in note of its tortuous journey to screen. In January, during the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California in January, Soderbergh said:
“They [Hollywood studios] 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.”
Behind The Candelabra stars Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Paul Reiser, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe and Debbie Reynolds, and airs on HBO May 26.