LOS ANGELES – One of the most anticipated HBO Films of the year, “Behind The Candelabra,” debuts Sunday.
Michael Douglas stars as Liberace, the flamboyant pianist and charming entertainer famous for his outrageous costumes and fancy candelabras.
Matt Damon plays Scott Thorson, who was Liberace’s much younger boyfriend for six years during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Here is how HBO describes the movie:
Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. A name synonymous with showmanship, extravagance and candelabras, he was a world-renowned performer with a flair that endeared him to his audiences and created a loyal fan base spanning his 40-year career. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair. “Behind The Candelabra” takes a behind-the-scenes look at their tempestuous relationship – from their first meeting backstage at the Las Vegas Hilton to their bitter and public break-up.
The HBO movie is directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) and written by Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese ("The Fisher King").
Debbie Reynolds has a supporting role, playing Frances, Liberace’s doting mother who could be quite the stage mom. She also knew Frances and Scott Thorson, so she lends authenticity to the HBO movie.
Reynolds was often called Liberace’s “beard” for being his “plus one” at social events. She told The Associated Press that everybody knew Liberace was gay … except that Liberace never publicly came out.
"I have never had a better time than being Liberace's date," the 81-year-old Reynolds told AP. "We all knew he was homosexual. That was a friend: You know what they love and the people that they love, and what they are."
Reynolds praised Douglas and Damon for their portrayals of Liberace and Scott.
"They had to immerse themselves: two straight men, to make this come off as loving and real," she said.
Liberace died in 1987 from complications related to AIDS. He was 67.