Damon & Douglas Talk Liberace's Legacy

HBO Films

Matt Damon has already revealed that he will reveal quite a lot of himself to play Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra, HBO's Liberace biopic. But Damon went more than skin deep today when he was joined by Michael Douglas in talking about the hotly anticipated project at The Television Critics Association in Pasadena, CA. A project that was over a decade in the making.

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Douglas admitted, "I can't believe this is true, but [director Steven Soderbergh & I] were doing Traffic 12 years ago, and somewhere early in the shoot, Steven said, 'Have you ever thought about Liberace?' That's how early the idea was going on." The project finally came together once Richard LaGravenese's screenplay came into the picture.

"You don't get this many chances to have a great script and a wonderful actor like Matt to work with," Douglas said, adding with a laugh, "We obviously worked together closely." And after watching Candelabra's trailer -- luxe looking and filled with passionate kissing, coupling and heartfelt emotions -- I can tell you that Douglas was speaking the truth.

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Getting to the truth of Liberace was of utmost importance to Douglas, who had only met the performer in passing. "I met him briefly two or three times when my father had a house in Palm Springs and Liberace had a house nearby. You couldn't miss his car. I never had an evening with him, but heard ... that he was an extraordinarily gracious guy."

co-star Debbie Reynolds, however, had spent quite a lot of time with Liberace back in the day. Although Douglas wouldn't reveal the stories she shared with the room. "Most of Debbie's stories I really can't tell," he laughed. "She had some very spicy stuff to say.

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Aside from personal anecdotes, Douglas also worked from the tremendous amount of clips available of Liberace. "Those certainly give you a sense and idea [of who he was]," he said, adding that the key to his performance is repetition. "

"It's basically ... finding the balance between knowing you're not an impersonator and [finding] what makes you comfortable and [finding what] makes me attractive to Matt." Damon was quick to add he found Michael "very, very attractive" as Liberace.

Behind the Candelabra premieres later this year on HBO.