Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Behind The Candelabra

Steven Soderbergh’s new biopic of Liberace for HBO looks brilliant, so here’s the trailer and more

Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 15:31


Forget about last week’s teaser, here’s the real trailer.

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So it looks as though Steven Soderbergh’s new biopic of Liberace for HBO has it all. Michael Douglas in glitzy creepy glory, Matt Damon’s vulnerability, a brilliantly wigged Rob Lowe, amazing costume design, gay drama, drugs, surgery, fame, riches, glamour and, um, bubble baths.

Here’s a Matt Damon interview from Sunday’s Observer. Damon, of course, plays Scott Thornson who has one of the most action-packed short Wikipedia pages around: “According to Thorson, their committed relationship ended because of Liberace’s sexual promiscuity and Thorson’s drug addiction, brought on by Liberace’s hiring a plastic surgeon to restructure Thorson’s face to resemble a young Liberace, and the doctor’s prescribing a cocktail of highly addictive drugs, including cocaine, quaaludes, Biphetamine, and demerol post-surgery. Thorson also later battled Hepatitis C.
In 1982, Thorson filed a $113 million lawsuit against Liberace, the most famous part of which was a palimony suit. In 1986, Thorson and Liberace agreed to settle out of court for $95,000, two cars, and two pet dogs… In 1989, Thorson emerged as a pivotal witness in the prosecution of gangster Eddie Nash in the 1981 quadruple murders of the Wonderland Gang. For his testimony, he was placed in the federal witness protection program. In 1990, he was shot five times when drug dealers broke into his hotel room in Jacksonville, Florida.”

The film is screening on HBO because it was rejected by every studio going for being “too gay” according to Soderbergh.

In this December interview with Playboy (I’ve fast-forwarded to the relevant part), Damon talks about making the film, kissing Michael Douglas and asking Heath Ledger about Brokeback.

I really can’t wait to see this. Apart from Soderbergh being one of my favourite filmmakers, this project appears capable of straddling cheesiness and decent drama. The story is fascinating, the characters are flamboyant and volatile, and the whole vibe of Soderbergh with Douglas and Damon on HBO feels like a bit of a dream team.