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The Making of 'Behind the Candelabra': VIDEO

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Early in May I posted a "making of" featurette on Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace biopic that premiered last night on HBO. Late this week, HBO posted a new "extended" 14-minute version of that featurette with extra material, which is definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed the film.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

What did you think of the film? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Weekend Movies: Behind the Candelabra

  Behind-bedroom
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon share a bed and the story of Liberace and Scott Thorson

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful"

That was a signature catchphrase of Liberace, the classical pianist who became a household name as a flamboyant nightclub entertainer. Liberace was born Vladziu Valentino Liberace but known by "Walter" or "Lee" to his intimates -- even the names were too many… too much! He didn't just popularize the catchphrase but lived it maintaining his most unlikely monster career for roughly four decades -- which is, what, a century in showbiz years?

The new biopic BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, premiering Sunday on HBO, is smart enough to adopt it as tagline. But is it too much? Is it wonderful? Hollywood studios thought so, at least in regards to the first question. Director Steven Soderbergh hasn't been shy about telling the press that the story was too gay for the movie studios and while we can't know the ins and outs of how true this is or to what extent he tried to make it happen as a theatrical feature before going to television, it sounds trueish. Hollywood has been curiously reluctant to relive the mainstream success of Brokeback Mountain (a major hit grossing nearly $100 million in domestic release) even though they're usually downright shameless about cashing in on any success with quick imitation.

But bless Soderbergh for pushing it forward, even if he's a weird fit for the material. As a director he's never been exactly "flamboyant" visually, preferring subtle formal experimentation to Liberace's rhinestone-slathered "look at me" effort.

CONTINUE, AFTER THE JUMP....

Behind-piano

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The Reviews are In for the Liberace 'Behind the Candelabra' Biopic: VIDEO

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The reviews are in for the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra, and they're just what you might expect.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Reviews are In for the Liberace 'Behind the Candelabra' Biopic: VIDEO" »


Steven Soderbergh on Liberace Biopic: 'For a Lot of People It’ll Be Hard to See Jason Bourne on Top of Gordon Gekko'

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In an interview from Cannes, Steven Soderbergh talks about how and why he got Michael Douglas and Matt Damon involved with his upcoming Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra:

For the life of me I don’t know why I was standing on the set of Traffic in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I looked over at Michael and asked him if he would ever consider playing Liberace. I really don’t know where this came from. 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.

On how Matt Damon got involved:

He 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.

And how it might resonate:

There’s certainly an undertow to the movie that comes from the knowledge that they could be married today, like Elton John.

Soderbergh also talks about his planned retirement and his past remarks about the film industry.

Read the full interview here.

Check out the trailer HERE and a featurette HERE.


Michael Douglas on Sex with Matt Damon: 'Once You Get That First Kiss In, You are Comfortable'

Michael Douglas talks about playing Liberace  in the upcoming HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra, in a New York magazine cover story.

DouglasSays Douglas, of his love scenes with Matt Damon (who plays his younger lover Scott Thorson):

“Once you get that first kiss in, you are comfortable. Matt and I didn’t rehearse the love scenes. We said, ‘Well—we’ve read the script, haven’t we?’  The hardest thing about sex scenes is that everybody is a judge. I don’t know the last time you murdered somebody or blew anyone’s brains out, but everyone has had sex and probably this morning, which means everyone has an opinion on how it should be done.”

Douglas says the sex is not shied away from:

The sexual content—the gayness of Behind the Candelabra—made it a tough sell to the studios. It was originally conceived as a feature film rather than an HBO movie, but none of the major movie companies wanted to finance the film, which cost only $23 million and featured two major stars. “Everybody loved the script [by Richard LaGravenese, based on Scott Thorson’s memoir of his life with Liberace],” said Jerry Weintraub, the veteran producer who worked with Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and knew Liberace. “The party line was that Behind the Candelabra would not appeal to anyone who is not gay. Interestingly, they forgot that Liberace’s own audience in the fifties and sixties was not gay. It was purple-haired ladies who loved his act—he knew how to take the audience upside down, sideways, and backward. He was an artist, and yet, when I saw him at his house, he was free and open with his sexuality. There were men in every room! I didn’t care—it just meant there were more women for me!”

Douglas adds, later:

“Liberace worked hard. When Scott Thorson became a drug addict and Liberace’s work was imperiled, their relationship cratered. When I watch the movie, I forget it’s Matt and me pretty quickly. And soon after that, I forget it’s two guys. The fights, the love—it’s a couple. There’s always that moment in a relationship where somebody has gone too far or they’ve done something that can’t be forgotten, and, suddenly, a little tendon is popped, and it never comes back. The only people you can forgive after something like that is your family. Lee tried, but he couldn’t forgive Scott until he was about to die.”

The film premieres May 26 on HBO. Here's the trailer if you missed it.


Cheyenne Jackson is in HBO's Liberace Biopic Too: PHOTO

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You can catch a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse of him in the awesome featurette released yesterday as he plays a dueling piano as Liberace's protegee Billy Leatherwood.

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