Matt Damon recently finished shooting for the upcoming movie Behind the Candelabra. In the movie Damon plays Scott Thorson, the long time partner of Liberace (Michael Douglas has been cast in the role of Liberace). Recently Damon sat down with Playboy Magazine for an interview on a variety of topics, including the relationship between Thorson and Liberace, having to kiss another man, gay rumors that have dogged Damon and Benn Affleck, and more.
On the relationship between Thorson and Liberace:
These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship-a marriage-long before there was gay marriage. That’s not an insignificant thing. The script is beautiful and relatable. Their conversations when they’re dressing or undressing or having a spat or getting ready for bed? That’s every marriage. It feels like you’re witnessing something really intimate you would normally see with a man and a woman, but instead it’s two men, which was thrilling. There’s stuff I think will make people uncomfortable. Great. It’s HBO—they can change the channel.
On preparing for the role with Douglas:
We both have a lot of gay friends, and we were not going to screw this up or bulls**t it. It wasn’t the most natural thing in the world to do, though. Like, for one scene, I had to come out of a pool, go over to Michael, straddle him on a chaise lounge and start kissing him. And throughout the script, it’s not like I kiss him just once. We drew it up like a football plan. I remember asking Heath Ledger after Brokeback Mountain, "How’d you do that scene with Jake"-meaning the scene where they start ferociously kissing. He said, "Well, mate, I drank a half case of beer in my trailer." I started laughing, and he goes, "No, I’m serious. I needed to just go for it. If you can’t do that, you’re not making the movie."
On Douglas as a kisser:
Michael was a wonderful kisser. My concerns ended up mattering a lot less once we were filming. The dynamic between the men was complex and interesting. Liberace was very powerful and adored, a great showman making $50,000 a week doing his act in Vegas. Scott was much younger and grew up in foster homes, so there was a lot to play.
On the rumors of Damon and Affleck being gay:
I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn’t want to offend my friends who were gay—as if being gay were some kind of (curse deleted) disease. It put me in a weird position in that sense. The whole thing was just gross. But look, there have been great signs of progress—the fact that Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres can come out so beautifully and powerfully, and it’s a big (curse deleted) deal that it turns out nobody gives a (curse deleted). If Liberace were alive today, everybody would love his music and nobody would care what he did in his private life. Like with Elton John.
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