Michael Douglas reveals his attraction to Liberace

HBO will show Liberace in a new light in Behind the Candelabra. Actor Michael Douglas plays the entertainer, whom he had the privilege of meeting years ago.

Michael Douglas

Later this month, Michael Douglas will fill the sparkly shoes of Liberace. The famous pianist and Las Vegas performer is at the center of the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra.

The film’s directed by Steven Soderbergh, who approached Douglas about playing Liberace a while ago. We’re talking over a decade, when they were shooting the drama Traffic. Douglas thought the director was joking, but it turns out Soderbergh was dead serious.

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In a profile published in New York Magazine (via Vulture), Douglas revealed his own encounter with Liberace.

“I met him once with my father in Palm Springs, where they both had homes, but what I mostly remember is Lee’s TV show,” Douglas said. “Liberace talked directly to the camera — he was the first person to do that. He was having such a good time that he was contagious. For me, Lee’s gayness didn’t even enter the picture — you just wanted to share the good time with him. And he was nice. I was attracted to his sheer likability.”

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Meanwhile, Soderbergh was enamored with both Liberace’s personal and professional strides.

“During his career, Liberace was the most successful act to play Vegas — he made up to $400,000 a week during the seventies — but he was very private,” Soderbergh revealed to the magazine. “The film is about a part of his life that he didn’t share with anyone; it is an act of imagination, but I wanted it to be sincere. I didn’t want it to be unkind, because everyone loved Liberace. He was the nicest man.”

Behind the Candelabra will explore Liberace’s life, specifically his relationship with his much younger partner, Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon).

The movie airs Sunday, May 26 at 9/8c on HBO.

Photo credit: WENN