Soderbergh: ‘Liberace’ Biopic Will Showcase Icon’s Virtuoso Skills

Just as Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” biopic is set to his theaters, the director is already hard at work on a movie telling the story of a very, very different icon of the 20th century. According to the Soderbergh, “Liberace” is tentatively scheduled to begin shooting in 2010 with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and will focus on the flamboyant pianist’s turbulent relationship with his companion Scott Thorson in the final decade of his life.

Thorson, who would be played by Damon, filed a $113 million palimony suit against the entertainer in 1982, but ended up settling out of court for a far lesser sum of money. The story promises a great deal of drama, and some insight into the secretive personal life of one of popular culture’s legendary closeted superstars, but the filmmaker also promises not to ignore his subject’s virtuosity and showmanship.

“There are performance scenes,” Soderbergh told MTV News. “It’s important that you either understand why he was as famous as he was, or to wonder why he was as famous as he was. You need to see what he did.”

The director mentioned that he had recently discussed Liberace’s technical chops with the famed composer Marvin Hamlisch, who told him “He was hands down one of the best keyboardists [he’d] ever seen,” and that “I saw him play stuff you couldn’t believe two people weren’t playing.”

Soderbergh hopes to convey the pianist’s skill and stylistic flair in the film. “I want to get that across, that he was very proficient. He could combine this extreme proficiency with this showman’s attitude.”