HBO Films is making Michael Douglas into Liberace, HBO announced Tuesday.
The "Wall Street" actor will star as the flamboyant pianist (pictured below). Matt Damon will play Scott Thorson, Liberace's live-in lover, in "Behind the Candelabra."
Initially, executive producer Jerry Weintraub figured it'd be a theatrical release, but he changed his mind after working with HBO on a documentary — "His Way" — about him.
"We've been working on it for a very long time," Weintraub told TheWrap. "And usually those are the best ones — the ones you work on the longest."
Indeed, Douglas's interest in the project was reported in 2009. But in 2010, the actor was diagnosed as having throat cancer and all his projects were put on hold.
Weintraub acknowledged that the project "is a tough one" due to the subject matter: "You're doing a picture about a gay couple — in a time when gays did not come out of the closet."
He said that "it's a fun movie because Liberace is a fun guy — I knew him very, very well," Weintraub said. "But there's a dark side as well. It's very dark and it's very light."
Beyond the substantial heft of Weintraub, Douglas and Damon is some significant behind-the-camera talent.
Steven Soderbergh is directing. Richard LaGravenese, who wrote "Water for Elephants" and "The Fisher King," wrote the script.
Gregory Jacobs ("Contagion") and Susan Ekins ("Oceans Eleven," "Ocean's Twelve," "Ocean's Thirteen," "The Karate Kid" series) are producing.
That's plenty of "Ocean's" alumni: Damon, of course, starred in those films, which Soderbergh directed. Soderbergh worked with Jacobs on "Contagion."
The movie begins production next summer and will shoot in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.