Matt Damon and Michael Douglas cover EW as Liberace and his lover: amazing?

This is just a reminder that amid all the stories about The Kardashians, The Chelsea Handlers and The Shia LaBeoufs in this world there are people who have real, tangible talent doing great work to entertain us. (Also see: Tina Fey) So here we have a preview image on EW of the upcoming Liberace biopic, co-starring Michael Douglas as the late great showman and Matt Damon as his much younger lover. It’s just amazing. There’s so much going on here, and it gets me so excited for this movie that I don’t know where to start. The fabulous costumes, the crazy wiglets, the tacky jewelry, Matt Damon! Can you imagine how awesome the set is going to look? The film is Beyond The Candelabra, a TV Movie for HBO directed by Steven Soderbergh. It’s based on a book by Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson, played by Damon. In their EW interview, Damon and Douglas reveal that there were some sort-of explicit gay sex scenes that were hard to film.

Yes, that really is Michael Douglas and Matt Damon under the prosthetic makeup, wigs, and crystal-trimmed suits — all part of their costumes for Behind the Candelabra, the new Steven Soderbergh-directed HBO movie (airing May 26) about the stranger-than-fiction romance between Liberace (Douglas) and his young lover, Scott Thorson (Damon) from 1978 to 1982. In this week’s issue, Damon and Douglas give a frank, funny interview about filming one of the weirdest, glitziest gay love stories ever put on film, one that required both actors to do things they’d never done before onscreen. Like, say, wearing a metallic thong — and nothing else. “Every Sunday night, this girl would come to my house and I would stand in my garage and I would hike my boxer briefs up into the crack of my a– and she would give me a spray tan,” explains Damon, who spends plenty of the movie in tiny swimsuits, and wasn’t too excited about his real-life wife seeing his bronzed backside. “We’ve been through three childbirths, we’ve been in the trenches, there are no secrets. But I really wish she didn’t see that. That’s too much.”

Behind the Candelabra is based on Thorson’s 1988 memoir about Liberace’s over-the-top world of palatial houses, extravagant clothes, and secret affairs. (Liberace never publicly came out as gay before dying of AIDS in 1987.) It’s a world that Douglas actually witnessed first-hand, since his father, actor Kirk Douglas, was once Liberace’s neighbor in Palm Springs. “I remember meeting him just in passing, in his convertible with the top down — his hair not moving,” says the actor, who also got advice from one of Liberace’s close friends, Debbie Reynolds, who plays his mother in the film. “She just told me, ‘[Your voice] can never be too nasal.’” The movie is also Douglas’ first role since his cancer diagnosis in 2010, and the actor tells EW that beating the disease and returning to acting has been therapeutic for him. “It was great to get back,” he says. “It gave me a new appreciation for what I do, taking advantage of it.”

As for their sex scenes together (and trust us, the movie has plenty), Damon and Douglas both say that shooting a moment of passion is 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.”

For more from Matt Damon and Michael Douglas on Behind the Candelabra, plus exclusive photos of the movie’s costumes, sets, and supporting cast — you won’t believe what Rob Lowe looks like! — pick up a copy of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, March 8.

[From EW]

The Daily Mail has some more details about the making of the film, as revealed in a press conference with the director and stars in January. Soderbergh admitted that the film was rejected by several studios for being “too gay.” He also promised that the film would not resort to caricatures of either character or of their relationship. I’m so glad this story found a home on HBO and that I’m a subscriber! I’ll also pick up this issue of EW for sure, if only for the photos. Gah I can’t get enough of Matt Damon in a wig and makeup. Plus this has Rob Lowe in it! It’s going to be epic.

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62 Responses to “Matt Damon and Michael Douglas cover EW as Liberace and his lover: amazing?”

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  1. lori says:

    I’m more interested in the Norman Reedus interview mentioned in the corner of the cover.

  2. aims says:

    This is going to be awesome! They both look spot on, it’s almost scary. Im really looking forward to this.

  3. Arock says:

    Michael Douglas looks the best he has in years.

  4. Ailine says:

    Can’t wait to see this! Sounds like it will be over the top and great for some laughs.

  5. RHONYC says:


  6. Happymom says:

    I love both of them, and I have no problem with gays or gay sex-but something about the combination of these things is just making my skin kind of crawl.

    • spinner says:

      I agree. This doesn’t feel like a tribute of any sort. It feels like exploitation/sensationalism.

  7. T.Fanty says:

    I am SO excited for this movie. Both actors are phenomenal and I’m really excited to see Michael Douglas be great in something again. I love him as an actor.

  8. TheOriginalKitten says:


  9. taxi says:

    Michael nails it with the feathered cape. Love Matt’s make-up.

  10. elceibeno08 says:

    I am totally watching this movie. Does anybody know when this movie is going to be released? I don’t have HBO, is there any other way I can see the movie?

    • V4Real says:

      I suggest visiting a friend who has HBO. But once the movie airs I’m sure you’ll be able to stream it on line if you can’t wait for the DVD

  11. lady mary. says:

    matt looks Beautiful in that first pic ,this movie is gonna be awesome ,i hope he gets his golden globe for this yayyy

  12. Ms Kay says:

    Gosh the Rolling Stone cover is just too funny, but perhaps it was the effect? Matt Damon looks like a plastic blonde Ken doll with the shiny lips and wax face, and Michael Douglas looks like an altered version of Wayne Newton :-D

  13. Tulip says:

    This is going to be AMAZING! The makeup and hair have totally sold it. @Arock-it IS the best Michael Douglas has looked in ages. I hope I’m not disapointed.

  14. evie says:

    I have zero interest in this movie. Liberace was never someone I cared for much so this whole movie idea is just meh for me. They both look great, I just don’t care about this movie enough to watch. I’ll wait and read the recap here. :)

  15. fabgrrl says:


    If I were Soderbergh I wouldn’t lose any sleep over a Liberace c”aricature”. No one could possibly out-Liberace Liberace.

  16. Green is Good says:

    This is going to be fabulous!

  17. silken_floss says:

    Matt Damon’s wiglet is FLAWLESS. I love the layers :P

    • FassDaActor says:

      hahaha…I know right. It’s on point.

      This looks awesome. It’s really nice to see Michael Douglas looking healthy.

  18. HillbillyintheCorner says:

    Oh yes, watching two plastic gay men making love…that is right there on my bucket list of things I want to do this year……used to see him on TV as a kid and would ask mother “Why is that woman so ugly ” …..
    Not even remotely interested now….If I want to watch to males go at each other I will go watch the young roosters out in the chicken pen and be more entertained…..

    • lori says:

      Really living up to your name huh?

    • roxy750 says:

      Totally agree with you, I think people growing up in the time of Liberace forget at the time he was a weirdo to us kids, ugh. I hated when he was on TV, very strange. I have no interest in watching this, gross. Never into the flamboyancy like this, it’s almost insulting. Everyone is acting like it’s totally cool, which back then it was freaking weird seeing this guy.

      • Sweet Dee says:

        In the words of Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin.’”

        While you’re both entitled to your opinions, not bad people etc. etc. etc., just know, your point of view is outdated and for the rest of your lives the world will become lonelier and lonelier for you.

        Have a great day!

      • lrm says:

        How are their opinions ‘outated’?
        I mean, I just don’t get ‘the point’ of this movie….to show us that this type of relationship exists? It just does not sound entertaining to me, whatsoever.
        And, it sounds like a lot of people are loving ‘michael and matt can pull this off’, more than the subject matter. Like you know it’s two of your favoriate actors ‘playing gay and over the top’ and want to see how well they do it.

        So, it’s a bit like popcorn fluff, non?

        I agree with the others, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing this. I just don’t think it would be entertaining, informative or otherwise enjoyable for me to watch, and this is the criteria I use, to determine whether or not I want to see any movie.

        I really hate the ‘PC trend’ that somehow, watching movies about gay relationships, is somehow ‘cutting edge’, when half the time,t he movies would be ridiculous, were they based on straight relationships. [the kids are alright comes to mind; i left 2/3 of the way through that thing. could not take annette benning and julianne moore whining anymore. That dysfunctiona/effed up relationship they had, would have been laughed at by critics, had it been a straight relationship in the script.]

        I think this is a necessary period, but much of this gratuitious ‘shock value but now we are no longer shocked by it’, simply is not great art, or even good film.

        Yet, these comments about people who don’t enjoy them, being ‘outdated in their opinions’, comes from people who think they are the ‘evolved ones’, when really, you are just ‘trendy’, in the latest fad. And no, being gay is not a fad; capitalizing on it through commercial or social prospects, under the guise that it is about society evolving, is the fad.Society IS evolving, but showing this on film is NOT indicative of this.
        MILK was a great film. This just looks stupid and boring and gratuitous.
        And ya’ll are laughing at liberace, not respecting what he did or went through. [And I have no knowledge of this, myself-does anymore? Is Liberace some kind of icon activist or otherwise empowering for us?].

      • Sweet Dee says:

        Thanks, lrm, for beautifully demonstrating the outdated viewpoint I’m talking about. I don’t buy your “gay is okay but flaming is not” schtick. Your post is ignorant in many ways, but there are a couple of glaring ones.

        What do you mean you don’t see the point? A lot of movies are made about peoples’ lives. Dude had an interesting life, even if that makes you squirm. It’s not “shocking” it’s REAL LIFE.

        Also, it’s not a “PC trend” and nobody thinks it’s “cutting edge” to like gay-themed material. It’s what people like. See how that works? If something is interesting, and there’s a market for it, the movie will get made.

        Anyway, have fun at your Aniston/Hudson/Hathaway rom-com or whatever crap you’re into.

    • jwoolman says:

      I remember watching him on tv in the 50s as a kid, I don’t recall ever disliking him (or knowing anybody who disliked him) although when I was older I actively liked him more and more. Certainly was a colorful guy in a drab world and seemed kindly. As a kid, though, I thought there two different people: the sparkly guy called LIB-ER-AH-CHEE that I often saw on variety shows and some serious pianist listed in TV Guide squibs called LIB-ER-ACE whose act I never seemed to catch…. :) I must have been well into my teens before I figured out they were the same person.

  19. Zorbitor says:

    The 1988 Victor Garber version was good for a few laughs.

  20. Toot says:

    Michael’s wig sucks to me, but Matt’s is gorgeous.

    I’m not feeling Michael at all in these pics.

  21. amanda says:

    Im just secretly hoping there are photos of Matt getting “tanned”.

  22. Sweet Dee says:

    Sincerely, I cannot wait to see this. I’m loving my new HBO subscription right now. YAY!

  23. Samigirl says:

    I love these men. That is all.

  24. MsAubra says:

    Matt Damon in character looks like one of my co-workers LOL

  25. Hubbahun says:

    Why…why am I turned on? WHY??? :D

  26. Marie says:

    Love those pictures, and how they are owning their “gayness” 100%

    • lrm says:

      Because they are flamboyant and over the top entertainer types, this means they are 100% ‘owning their gayness’????

  27. Runs with Scissors says:

    I love Matt Damon, but regarding his spray tan: “We’ve been through three childbirths, we’ve been in the trenches, there are no secrets. But I really wish she didn’t see that. That’s too much.”

    Lol, no man, SHE went through 3 childbirths. Is he REALLY comparing him seeing her GIVING BIRTH to her seeing him getting a spray tan? I know what he’s saying, but, lol, no.

  28. Reece says:

    “Well… I have no notes.” is my No Comment comment.

  29. j.eyre says:

    I can’t wait to see Rob Lowe’s shots either.

    Unlike some of the other posters, I grew up with Liberace and I found him mesmerizing.

  30. KellyinSeattle says:

    I’m surprised, but Michael Douglas wouldn’t have crossed my mind as Liberace, but he really looks like him! Catherine Z, it’s the best your man has looked in years!

  31. NEENAZEE says:

    Matt Damon is one of the most fearless, talented actors around… I’m psyched he was willing to take on this role and I can’t wait to see it!!

    Is it just me or does Michael Douglas looks hyper-air brushed in these shots??

  32. truthful says:

    I cannot wait til this comes out, Liberace always fascinated me with his over the top lifestyle.

  33. poppy says:

    they are both awesome.
    too bad ben afflack isn’t more like his friend.
    damon always comes across as gracious and real; willing to take rolls that aren’t flattering to his ego or that play into some archetype that he wants you to believe is him in real life. still think damon was 100000% perfect in the informant.

  34. HappyJoyJoy says:

    Being a proud Las Vegan & knowing the story first hand, I can honestly say this is the most exciting thing I’ve waited for in a long time. My prom was at Liberace’s home! Scott Thorton’s home is right behind it, they turned it into one huge property. I’m dying to see the sets & costumes. Can’t wait!

  35. Coconut says:

    Can’t wait to see the movie! Also coming up it sounds like is a resurrected Liberace museum in LV. The original was great.

  36. bettyrose says:

    Am I the only one who remembers that in “Backlash” Susan Faludi totally called Michael Douglas out on his hatred of women? I realize that was the 80s and he’s probably changed considerably since then, but according to Faludi, the ending of Fatal Attraction had to be rewritten because Douglas found it too emasculating and he needed to come across as a “man.” There were other examples of his douchery; I don’t remember them all. Ever since he married CZJ, I’ve always figured he’d changed, and this seems to suggest he had, but I’ve spent 20 years finding this guy totally suspect.

  37. Seagulls says:

    We’re not out of the woods yet, but I find it utterly cheering that these two actors will be playing two gay men and their careers won’t take a hit. Can you imagine that ten years ago?

    • Jane says:

      Yes, Matt played a gay character in 1999 (The Talented Mr Ripley), but his EW cover for the movie was with Gwyneth Paltrow.