The good news? It sounds like Michael Douglas has sufficiently recovered from his cancer scare to resume acting in a lead role. The more iffy news? Well, if you thought it was a stretch for Papa Kirk to play Vincent van Gogh, you ain’t see nothin’ yet:
HBO announced today that Michael Douglas and Matt Damon will star in Behind the Candelabra, a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between Liberace and his younger live-in lover, Scott Thorson. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) from a script by Richard LaGravenese (Water for Elephants), the film will feature Douglas as Liberace and Damon as Thorson.
Jerry Weintraub (Oceans 11 franchise) will executive produce. “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,” Weintraub said in a statement. ”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 any better than that!”
Actually, I can think of a few films that sound more appealing than this, but if it does go into production, getting the chance to watch Douglas camp it up as a male version of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest will certainly make for plenty of awesome YouTube moments. (Tempered by the sobering connection between the recovering Douglas’s ailments and Liberace’s sad last days.) Perhaps the producers can convince Adam West to don the Batsuit one last time and he and Douglas can recreate Liberace’s guest appearance on the 1966 Batman TV series. If nothing succeeds in show business like excess, then this is the chance to really go for the gusto.