Matt Damon Talks Playing Liberace's Lover In HBO's Behind The Candelabra

January 5, 2013
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon speak about the new HBO film 'Behind The Candelabra' during the HBO Winter 2013 TCA Panel at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, Pasadena, Calif., on January 4, 2013 -- Getty Images

Matt Damon donned several wigs and makeup for "Behind the Candelabra," the HBO film which finds him starring as Liberace's lover, Scott Thorson, and he admitted that for the first time in his career he got into the clothes.

"I've always been somebody who goes into the wardrobe fitting and I just try to get out. I try to get out as fast as I can. When they ask me what kind of shoes -- at this point -- I look for the most comfortable shoes, I look for the most comfortable clothes. I just kind of can't be bothered with it, but this was a very specific thing and I probably spent more time in the wardrobe fittings on this thing than I had, had on the previous 15 projects. Literally days and days and days," Matt told reporters on Friday at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour 2013 in Pasadena, Calif., as he discussed the film alongside Michael Douglas, who plays Liberace in the project.

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"And I really enjoyed it... And also, reading the book that the character that I play wrote -- he really was taken with the glamour of this lifestyle. That was one thing that he really -- even when writing the book -- he talked about how impressed he was and how excited he was to be involved in that kind of thing," Damon added, referring to Thorson's book, also called "Behind the Candelabra."

For Douglas, getting into character to play the iconic entertainer who thrilled crowds on television and across the world, required research.


"There's a tremendous amount of clips and films that certainly give you a sense, an idea [of Liberace]," Douglas said in response to a question from "It's basically a repetition process of looking at a lot of stuff and finding that balance between knowing you're not an impersonator, you're not going to be exactly like Liberace, and trying to find the balance that makes you comfortable, that makes you secure and makes myself attractive to Matt."

Asked if he found Douglas as Liberace attractive, Damon replied, "very, very attractive."

Although there has been plenty of light banter about the two heterosexual stars playing the flamboyantly-dressed couple, Damon said there are moments between the two men that will make audiences forget about the sequins and satin.

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"There are aspects of their relationship that were absurd, but for me it just kind of pointed out that there are aspects of all of our lives that are absurd, they're just not absurd to us because they're our lives. And we [had] fun making it, but... when you've made a lot of movies it's really rare to even see a script this good. It was so complex," Damon said. "Their relationship -- [screenwriter Richard LaGravenese] so got this dynamic. Whether this was the actual dynamic or not, I completely believed what he'd written and those aspects of the power dynamic.

"What it felt like was if this was a relationship between a man and a woman, you'd feel moments like, 'This is too intimate, maybe I shouldn't be here.' But it's between a man and a man and I've never seen that movie before," Damon continued. "So it was fun, but we weren't giggling about it. We took it very seriously. These are people's lives and we wanted to get it right... because we know how rare something like this is."

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"Behind the Candelabra" debuts on HBO in Spring 2013.

-- Jolie Lash

Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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