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HBO Biopic to Star Matt Damon, Michael Douglas

By Jacob Klein on Oct 11, 2011 to HBO Films

Director Steven Soderbergh will helm the new HBO project, a biography picture about Liberace, an American pianist and vocalist whose flamboyant exess both on and off the stage grabbed the worlds attention in the 60’s and 70’s.

“This is a story that’s going to surprise a lot of people,” HBO Films president Len Amato said Tuesday in announcing the casting. “It’s funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO. With Steven at the helm, directing such accomplished actors as Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, this is a dream project for us.”

Producer Jerry Weintraub on his new project – “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,” he said. “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 Soderberg — it doesn’t get better than that.”

Steven Soderbergh mentioned “HBO’s fearless approach to original programming” as his reasoning for teaming with the premium cable network.

Production isn’t set to begin until summer of 2012 in Los Angeles.  No word on a premiere date but with this production schedule we’d be surprised to see it on HBO before Winter 2012 or more likely, early 2013.

UPDATED: Official HBO Press Release and Biopic name –

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2011 – Academy Award® winner Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion,” “Traffic,” “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen”) and Emmy® Award-winning producer Jerry Weintraub (“Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “The Karate Kid” series, HBO’s Emmy®-nominated “His Way”) will bring the film BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, starring Academy Award® winners Michael Douglas (“Wall Street,” “Traffic,” “Solitary Man”) and Matt Damon (“Contagion,” “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “Invictus”) to HBO Films, it was announced today by Len Amato, president, HBO Films.

Executive produced by Weintraub and produced by Gregory Jacobs (“Contagion,” “The Informant!”) and Susan Ekins (“Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen,” “The Karate Kid” series), BEHIND THE CANDELABRA takes a behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and Scott Thorson, his younger live-in lover.  Directed by Soderbergh from a script by Oscar® nominee Richard LaGravenese (“Water for Elephants,” “The Fisher King”), the film stars Douglas as Liberace and Damon as Thorson.

“This is a story that’s going to surprise a lot of people,” said Amato.  “It’s funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO.  With Steven at the helm, directing such accomplished actors as Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, this is a dream project for us.”

Says Weintraub, “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.  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 better than that!”

“From the inception of this project, we’ve had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it,” says Soderbergh.  “HBO’s fearless approach to original programming and their unparalleled ability to pull in viewers make them the perfect fit for us.  Apart from my hair growing back, I couldn’t be happier.”

“Richard Plepler and I developed an enormous respect and affection for Jerry when we worked with him on his HBO documentary, and we hoped that it would be the beginning of a long and productive relationship,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.  “We are extremely excited that he is returning to HBO with this riveting film and sensational array of talent.”

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA will start production in summer 2012, with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.  Tara Grace, vice president, development and production, HBO Films, will serve as production executive on the project.










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