See Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as His Gloriously Coiffed Lover

Slate's Culture Blog
April 1 2013 1:38 PM

Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace Movie Looks Glorious

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.


Last year on Brow Beat, Forrest Wickman unveiled the Matt Damon hairodox: the worse the actor’s hairstyle for a given role (see, e.g., The Informant! and Contagion), the better his performance. If the new teaser for Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming Liberace movie, is any indication, Damon is about to give the performance of a lifetime. Granted, the only line we hear Damon say as the late entertainer’s much younger boyfriend, Scott Thorson, is an awestruck “Wow!” But check out that do! Sporting a blonde, shaggy style that thankfully went out of style decades ago, there’s little doubt that this is one of the actor’s most intriguing roles to date.

Though the relationship between his talents and his hair is not quite so Sampson-like, Michael Douglas looks equally promising as the famed pianist. The veteran performer has frequently gravitated to more brooding roles, and here he seems to be having much more fun than usual. The film, based on Thorson’s out-of-print book of the same name, detailing his tumultuous five-year relationship with Liberace, will air on May 26th on HBO.


Apparently, Soderbergh first had the idea for a Liberace movie when he was working with Douglas on Traffic well over a decade ago. And since he has supposedly stopped making feature films for the time being, it will be interesting to see how the director takes to television. (Soderbergh just announced his plans for a mini-series adaptation of The Sot-Weed Factor.) And it will definitely be fun to see what kind of beautiful music Damon and Douglas make together. “The heart of the movie is [Douglas and Damon] and they just kind of did a Thelma and Louise,” Soderbergh told Indiewire earlier this year. “They just jumped off the cliff together, and I never had to … push them at all, they knew exactly where this thing needed to go.”

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.


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