After a tumultuous year, Michael Douglas is on the mend. The Academy Award-winning actor will headline a biopic based on the life of flamboyant pianist Liberace. The film has been in development for over two years, but suffered a delay due to Douglas’ recent health issues. The actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010 and took an extended break for treatment.
The Liberace biopic was initially developed for a theatrical release, but producer Jerry Weintraub has decided that HBO is a better fit. The film is officially called Behind the Candelabra and it will center on the relationship between Liberace and his live-in lover Scott Thorson, slated to be played by Matt Damon.
Liberace (born Wladziu Valentino Liberace) was a fun-loving and vibrant performer. His bedazzled costumes and his over-the-top persona became just as famous as his music. Weintraub acknowledges that making this film “is a tough one” because “you’re doing a picture about a gay couple – in a time when gays did not come out of the closet.”
The performer’s sexuality is just a small part of the overall story. Liberace was a talented man with a charismatic personality and countless fans. Weintraub told The Wrap that he wants to reveal every facet of his life. “It’s a fun movie because Liberace is a fun guy — I knew him very, very well,” said Weintraub. “But there’s a dark side as well. It’s very dark and it’s very light.”
Behind the Candelabra begins production next summer and will shoot in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
Image courtesy of Nikki Nelson/WENN