Without a doubt, one of the more intriguing biopic scripts that has been kicking around Hollywood in recent years has to be the story of Wladziu Valentino [artist id=”760731″]Liberace[/artist]. A master showman, diamond-flashing pianist, somewhat-closeted public figure and Batman villain, he led one of the most interesting pop-culture lives of the 20th century. Now, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh is getting ready to make the project into a reality — and put Matt Damon and Michael Douglas into a hot tub together.
“Everybody is hopeful that there will be a full-on, love-wrestling match between these guys,” the “Ocean’s” filmmaker revealed to us recently when we caught up with him, discussing a soon-to-be-filmed gay love story depicting the five-year romance between Liberace (Douglas) and his more-than-30-years-younger companion Scott Thorson (Damon).
“That’s not where my mind went,” Soderbergh grinned. “But we have a hot-tub scene in there.”
When we caught up with Damon last month, he said that he and Douglas were [url id=”http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/437541/get-your-chapstick-ready.jhtml#
id=1621610″]getting ready for some kissing scenes[/url]. “I saw Michael last night,” Damon grinned. “He looks at me and goes, ’Get your Chapstick ready!’ ”
Thorson met Liberace when he was 17 years old and was hired by the performer as a friend and companion, a role that had him flying all over the world and getting flooded with lavish gifts. After their relationship ended due to promiscuity and drug addiction, Thorson filed a headline-grabbing $133 million lawsuit against Liberace. After his former lover died of AIDS, he wrote a book titled “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.”
“It’s told from the perspective of Scott,” Soderbergh said of the film, which he hopes to begin shooting sometime soon. “We have this framing device in which he’s laying [the story] out for us. As a narrator, it feels like he has an agenda — and then when you get to the ending you realize, ’Oh, it’s not what I thought.’
“It’s pretty crazy,” Soderbergh said of the film’s tone. “I don’t think it’s a comedy, but it’s pretty funny because the environment and the lifestyle are so extreme that even just having these guys carry on a quote-unquote ’normal’ conversation in one of these rooms wearing the clothes that they wore, it’s hard to look at that and take it at face value.
“I think it’s going to be really funny,” he said of the flick that will reunite him with “The Informant!” star Damon, and set the actor and Douglas amid an array of candles, pianos, diamonds and other Liberace hallmarks. “It lands in a really unexpected way. The ending is surprisingly emotional. It will be unexpected. It ends really, really well.
“I’m really excited about it,” he added. “Those guys are going to be amazing.”
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