First announced for development over two years ago, official movement is finally underway on the Liberace biopic that Steven Soderbergh will direct with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon headlining. Instead of heading to theaters, though, the film will air on HBO with the title Behind the Candelabra. Details from the official press release are as follows:
Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion,” “Traffic,” “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen”) and Emmy Award-winning producer Jerry Weintraub (“Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “The Karate Kid” series, HBO’s Emmy-nominated “His Way”) will bring the film BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, starring Academy Award winners Michael Douglas (“Wall Street,” “Traffic,” “Solitary Man”) and Matt Damon (“Contagion,” “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “Invictus”) to HBO Films, it was announced today by Len Amato, president, HBO Films.
Executive produced by Weintraub and produced by Gregory Jacobs (“Contagion,” “The Informant!”) and Susan Ekins (“Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “The Karate Kid” series), BEHIND THE CANDELABRA takes a behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and Scott Thorson, his younger live-in lover. Directed by Soderbergh from a script by Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese (“Water for Elephants,” “The Fisher King”), the film stars Douglas as Liberace and Damon as Thorson.
“This is a story that’s going to surprise a lot of people,” said Amato. “It’s funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO. With Steven at the helm, directing such accomplished actors as Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, this is a dream project for us.”
Says Weintraub, “I’ve wanted to make a film about Liberace for a very long time, and after the amazing experience I had with HBO on ‘His Way,’ I knew that they were absolutely the right place for this movie. 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.
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. Putting these two fine actors in the creative hands of Steven Soderbergh – it doesn’t get better than that!”
“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,” says Soderbergh. “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.”
“Richard Plepler and I developed an enormous respect and affection for Jerry when we worked with him on his HBO documentary, and we hoped that it would be the beginning of a long and productive relationship,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “We are extremely excited that he is returning to HBO with this riveting film and sensational array of talent.”
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA will start production in summer 2012, with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Tara Grace, vice president, development and production, HBO Films, will serve as production executive on the project.