Behind The Candelabra

Glitter, champagne, Matt Damon in a metallic soldier-boy uniform — it’s all there in the new teaser trailer for HBO’s Behind the Candelabra (airing May 26), starring Michael Douglas as the extravagant showman Liberace and Matt Damon as his much-younger lover, Scott Thorson. (Check out last month’s EW cover story for exclusive photos and interviews with Damon and Douglas.) Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie reveals the tawdry underside of Liberace’s real life, from his extravagant spending to his taste for younger men and his fascination with plastic surgery — much of which the performer fought to keep secret from the public before he died of AIDS in 1987. “He was the biggest act in the world, and the whole time, petrified of his secret coming out,” Damon told EW. “You see him in the movie going to a sex store — nowadays, he’d be [exposed] on Twitter so fast.”

But Liberace’s musical talent always outshone his vices, and Douglas had the task of recapturing the magic of Liberace’s live shows onscreen. “Of course, you’re never gonna be as good as he was,” says the actor, whose face was digitally grafted onto a pianists’ body for the movie’s complicated piano numbers. Still, Douglas went to great lengths — hiring piano teachers, watching hours of archived performance footage — to perfect his hand and body movements for those scenes. Damon recalls: “The moment I knew we were fine was the Sunday before we started shooting. Michael had a brunch at his house, and his son sat up in front of everybody and did the entire monologue with the [piano-playing] hand movements and everything. And I thought, ‘Oh my God. I can’t imagine how much Michael has been rehearsing for his 11-year-old son to be able to actually do the thing!'”

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Behind the Candelabra
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