Does Matt Damon really look early 20 something in Behind The Candelabra?

I absolutely loved “Behind the Candelabra.” I’ve seen it twice now, and I rarely watch anything more than once. It just stands up to additional viewings, especially with such superb performances from Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. Audiences agreed, and the film had the highest ratings for HBO in a decade, with an impressive 3.5 million viewers on Sunday. That’s considered even more meaningful since the movie aired on a typically slow holiday weekend. There’s some debate as to whether those numbers would translate to box office returns, and if this film could have received a theatrical release in the US instead of just airing on cable. It’s generally considered “too gay” for the movies, which seems to have been disproven by how many people tuned in.

After I saw the film I looked up the story behind it and was surprised to learn that the man Damon played, Scott Thorson, was just 17 when he met Liberace and 22 when they separated. That’s why Damon was shown living with his foster/adoptive family at the beginning of the film – he was supposed to have been underage! I think they tried to gloss around that by showing that Damon’s character Scott had a job working with performing animals. In the film, he was still a lost orphan type but he seemed like he was supposed to be around mid 20s at the beginning rather than just 17. I bought it, too. Damon was in great physical condition and he was convincing as a naive kid. Just not one barely out of high school.

I’m a Matt Damon loony, and I was thrilled to see Damon in fabulous wigs and makeup but more than that shirtless. We got a couple of different scenes of his bare ass too. (At least I’m hoping that was his real ass, although the fake tan lines kind of ruined it.) The people at Huffington Post took some screenshots of Damon’s best moments, and it’s striking how different he looks. Does he really look 22 tops, though? Not to me, but it didn’t distract from the plot at all. He’s such an incredible actor that I would buy anything he’s selling.

Here’s a trailer. Damon gets out of the pool at 1:35.

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50 Responses to “Does Matt Damon really look early 20 something in Behind The Candelabra?”

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  1. marie says:

    I buy that he’s a younger guy, but not as young as 22-I’d go 28.

  2. aims says:

    I haven’t seen this yet, but really want to. I was wondering about is Matt could swing the teenage, early 20′s thing.I think a huge chunk of people would be yelling from the rooftops if it became known that a middle-aged man was having an affair with an underage boy.

  3. Jo says:

    That’s the first thing I thought when he popped on the screen! What in the chemical peel\microdermabrasion?!? He looked so young and fresh! 17, no. 22 yes. I love Matt Damon. I still get moist at the thought of Will Hunting.

  4. poppy says:

    he definitely looked/looks decades younger than MD’s liberace, but not as young as the real life person he portrayed. it didn’t detract anything, imo.

  5. Aiobhan says:

    Nope but I did not mind that he was way too old for the part. I honestly dont think any working actor in that age range could have pulled off the role.

  6. Kate says:

    He looks young enough. Not 22, but young enough for the intended age disparity to be obvious.

  7. LoL says:

    I googled pix because I wanted to see what the real people looked like and Matt Damon actually looks younger than Scott Throson did when he was with Liberace. He looked really old for his age.

  8. RHONYC says:

    in the 1st part of the movie, he had that young, beefy midwest thing down pat. the feathered hair was icing on the cake! i definitely ‘felt’ he was in his 20s. :-D

    p.s.- afterward i wikied the backstory on Scott & threw up in my mouth a lil’ when i read he actually met & hooked up with ‘Lee’ when he was 17 & Liberace was 57! 8O :?

  9. Mia 4S says:

    Yeah they were definitely pushing it on the age thing, really pushing it (sorry Matt! ;-) ). I kind of wanted a younger actor because the reality of what Liberace did should not be glossed over. Still a very well done movie. I suppose one could argue that his character did not have an easy life so he was a “rough” 22.

  10. eryin says:

    HAHAHA….no! He looks great, he’s f-ing Matt Damon, but he looks his age. And that’s mid to late 30′s.I’ll even be generous and say early 30′s even.

  11. truthful says:

    I just fell in line, because I did not know that the real character was supposed to be 17…I thought maybe in his mid 20′s.

    this was a good movie to me, so good.

    I’ve been meaning to look up the “lady” that Liberace told his fans he was engaged to, I wonder what happened to her?

  12. MonicaQ says:

    Totally could peg him for 25 or so. Then again I’m 28 and get pegged for 20 because I’m short so I’m a poor judge on age.

    The pudge suits they wore for a bit were stupid adorable. I wanted to poke their stomachs. And Micheal Douglas screaming, “I LOOK LIKE MY FATHER IN DRAG!” had everyone laughing.

  13. Adrien says:

    Yes, esp. on that photo with him in bed with Michael.
    Lol at Rob Lowe. He looks like Lucille Bluth.

  14. T.Fanty says:

    I would go with mid-late 20s.

    And I know nobody asked, but I’d still hit sparkly, gay Matt Damon. I’d even let him (try to) keep the hat on.

  15. Jess says:

    I grew up thinking a lot of the young celebs in the late 70′s and early 80′s were much older than they really were. That whole blonde feathered hair and skin so tan it’s turned to leather look didn’t work for many people, so Matt doesn’t seem out of place playing that age in that particular place and time.

  16. Sarah says:

    The full-on face shot makes him look like LeAnn Rimes

  17. Liberty says:

    I think he pulled it off, because he looked like that era’s young/tender group (that time’s 20, not today’s 14 being 20) and was fit, CGI or no CGI — but also largely because the man can act. His eyes totally read as “naive, young” in an utterly amazing way in the film. Look at them in the stills. Do you see what I mean?

    • mom2two says:

      I agree, I don’t think Matt sold the age as much as he sold the naive/young/lost boy vibe very well.
      Both Matt and Michael acted so well in this movie, I’d be surprised if they don’t wind up with Emmy nods for this one.
      I did not know that Scott was 17 when he and Liberace hooked up.

  18. fabgrrl says:

    He looks fantastic, but no, not 17-22. Maybe a rough 23. I agree that the producers probably wanted to make the character seem a bit older than he was, given how very icky the reality was.

    Aging up the character and doing a lot of CGI is a small price to pay to have Matt Damon in your film, I say. I’ve gotta see this!

  19. Bird says:

    Damon can do no wrong. I love him, I loved the film. Douglas was INSANELY good, too.

  20. Ag says:

    He might look 22 in 70s looks – you know how everyone back then looked older than they were, somehow? Haha

  21. BeesKnees says:

    I am usually not a Matt Damon fan, but this movie changed that for me. Even though I had read that Scott Thorson was supposed to be 17-22 through the course of the movie, I still bought Damon in the role. I’m not sure I can think of an actor in the 17-22 age range who could have pulled this role off as well as Matt. Just an all around fantastic movie!

  22. Sumodo1 says:

    Damon was phenomenal, especially when he was adding “pissed off about bad plastic surgery” to the role of Thorson.

    • Emma - the JP Lover says:

      @Sumodo1, who wrote: “Damon was phenomenal, especially when he was adding “pissed off about bad plastic surgery” to the role of Thorson.”

      This! And when he was pissed off because he just ‘knew’ Liberace was fu$king somebody else. Matt rocked those confrontations scenes.

  23. Zombie Shortcake says:

    I hope this film goes far in proving that gay/lesbian actors can play straight characters, as convincingly as straight actors can play gay/lesbian people.

  24. Emma - the JP Lover says:

    Can we pause for a moment and pay homage to Matt Damon’s butt … and his chest … and his eyes …. and just, him? :)

    And remember, ladies (and gentlemen) … you can see his fabulous chest again–with tattoos–later this August in the (hopefully) summer blockbuster film “Elysium.”

    @Celebitchy … I just wanted another excuse to show Matty’s tatted chest again. :)

  25. F5 says:

    But if they’d cast an actor in his twenties, it would have looked creepier, good ol’ Lee as a sexual predator. Think Hefner old and his creepy bunnies.

    • Gia says:

      Exactly! Could you imagine if they cast someone like that kid in the ‘Hunger Games’ or something!! Imagine how people (myself included) would react to Michael Douglas hot tubbing and being buggered by a real 20 year old. Man, that really puts how messed up this relationship was in perspective eh? Liberace was a dirty dog.

  26. grabbyhands says:

    I don’t think he looks anything like he was in his twenties, but if you see the pictures of Scott at the time, neither did he. They actually did a really good job casting him.

  27. Mskelfirestar says:

    I need to see this movie! When I was a little girl I found Liberace fascinating what with all the glittering excess and furs….And I love Matt Damon and Michael Douglas

  28. adtiu says:

    In the 70′s, 17 looked a lot older than it does now. Each generation looks younger and younger…

  29. SamiHami says:

    Man, I want to see this! I’m old enough I remember reading about all of this in the tabloids when it was going on. It’s just on HBO now, right? I hope it goes to Netflix soon so I can watch.

  30. Marybel says:

    No, but he does look gay.

  31. Jade says:

    No but I still like him very much and he rocks it. Who else can play the character? Darren Criss? Nicholas Hoult? Liam Hemsworth? Pattinson? Taylor Lautner? Now that would really screw twihards up.

  32. Lulu77 says:

    Scott’s age wasn’t discussed in the movie so I and probably many others thought he was in his mid/late twenties. I thought Matt pulled off the character. Did he look like a teenager? No but I don’t think that was significant to the movie.