Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are set to play a gay couple in the new HBO film "Behind the Candelabra," a biopic about iconic flamboyant pianist Liberace.
The movie will give viewers a "behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and Scott Thorson, his younger live-in lover," producers said in a statement released by HBO Films on Tuesday, October 11.
Liberace, known for his flashy outfits as much as his music, never revealed his sexual orientation and successfully sued the UK tabloid The Mirror for implying he was gay in a 1956 article. When asked if he "indulged in homosexual practices," he said in court: "No, sir, never in my life. I am against the practice because it offends convention and it offends society."
Thorson served as the entertainer's bodyguard, chauffeur and confidant. Liberace was also linked romantically to women, including actress Mae West.
"I am thrilled that we have the incomparable Michael Douglas to inhabit the role of Liberace, as well as the exceptional Matt Damon to play the pivotal part of Scott Thorson," executive producer Jerry Weintraub said in the statement.
The director of "Behind the Candelabra" is Steven Soderbergh, who directed Damon in "Contagion" in "Ocean's Eleven" and its sequels and Douglas in "Traffic" and "Solitary Man." He also helmed the films "Erin Brockovich" and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape." The script for "Behind The Candelabra" was written by "Water For Elephants" screenwriter Richard LaGravenese.
Production on "Behind The Candelabra" is set to begin in the summer of 2012 in Los Angeles and Palm Springs in California and in Las Vegas, where Liberace often headlined stage shows before his death at age 67 in 1987."From the inception of this project, we've had two priorities: Getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it," Soderbergh said in a statement. "HBO's fearless approach to original programming and their unparalleled ability to pull in viewers make them the perfect fit for us. Apart from my hair growing back, I couldn't be happier."