If nothing else, you knew Steven Soderbergh would cull a great ensemble for the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. Michael Douglas is Liberace, with Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson—a great foundation. Dan Aykroyd and Singin’ in the Rain darling Debbie Reynolds next joined the cast. The Playlist adds Rob Lowe, Cheyenne Jackson, and Boyd Holbrook to the mix, but it’s Variety that reported my favorite name yet: Scott Bakula. I mean that literally—Bakula is my favorite name. But I also love the soulful actor, and am excited to see Bakula reunite with Soderbergh after nailing his small part in The Informant!. Hit the jump for details on each role.
- Bakula is set to play Liberace’s friend Bob Black, the choreographer who introduced him to Thorson.
- Lowe will play a plastic surgeon.
- Holbrook is in talks to play one of Liberace’s young lovers.
- Jackson is also still in negotiations, and the nature of his role is currently unknown.
Behind the Candelabra will premiere on HBO, with plans for a theatrical release outside the U.S. and Canada. Richard LaGravenese (Water for Elephants) wrote the script based on Thorson’s memoir My Life with Liberace. Here’s the synopsis for that memoir:
In 1977, the 18-year-old Thorson became “lover, friend and confidant” of the 57-year-old Liberace, a relationship that would continue until 1982. Here, with Thorleifson (coauthor of John Wayne) he relates the sorry, seamy tale of his “callous” eviction from the performer’s Las Vegas penthouse in favor of a teenager and the public brouhaha that followed when he filed a palimony suit. The book is uncomfortably candid with revelations about “Lee”who was driven to experience sexual variety with younger males, even as he continued to publicly deny his homosexualityand Thorson’s protestations that he was unfairly branded a street hustler by the tabloid press. Although the acrimonious suit was ultimately settled (the provisions were kept secret), Thorson notes that he has written this memoir because “I need the money.” His bitterness at Liberace, who died of AIDS in 1987, lessens at the end of the book, and with back-handed gratitude he concludes: “Leaving Lee . . . may have saved my life.” [Amazon]