Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming movie about Liberace and Scott Thorson, is getting great pre-release buzz. The movie stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Thorson.
In a recent interview Soderbergh discussed his memories of Liberace (comparing him in one instance to Lebron James), the movie, and the performances of both Douglas and Damon.
Soderbergh worked with Douglas on the movie Traffic and it was then that he first approached the actor with the idea of playing Liberace. “Well, that’s the first time I discussed the idea with him, and he did do a little impression, which I thought was excellent”.
After coming across Thorson’s book on his life with Liberace, Soderbergh know he had his storyline for the movie. After initially trying to tackle the storyline with Liberace as the centerpiece he changed his thinking and used Thorson as the “trojan horse” to get into Liberace’s life. “It gave me a definitive time period, and it gave me a structure because of the arc of the relationship,” said Soderbergh.
As for Damon, Soderbergh recalled “(Matt) was in Spain doing his cameo in Che, and I gave him the book. I can only imagine what was going through his mind five years later before we started shooting. But Matt doesn’t have anything to protect. That’s not how he makes his decisions. He makes his decisions based on whether he’s engaged by the piece or not. If it turns out to be something that’s really gonna push him as a performer, even better. And Michael, he was just fearless. They both are. The movie just doesn’t work if they don’t both literally join hands and jump off the cliff. It’s intimate stuff, even if it was a guy and a girl. But for a lot of people it’ll be hard to see Jason Bourne on top of Gordon Gekko.”
For anyone who is old enough to truly remember Liberace, count Soderbergh in that group, the memories are of a truly unique performer. That, above all, is what drew the director to the movie. “I’m old enough to have seen him on TV at my parents’ place, and found him very entertaining. I was kind of intrigued by the incredible technical skill being masked by this flamboyant persona. Underneath this performer who was all about entertaining his audience and giving them a good time was actually a concert-level skilled keyboardist. It’s kind of like if LeBron James decided to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. There really wasn’t anybody like him. And there are a lot of people now that owe him a real debt because of how he presented himself. This guy invented bling,” said Soderbergh
The author is solely responsible for the content.