One of the more intriguing gay-themed films arriving in 2013 is Behind The Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s HBO movie starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as the showman’s younger lover, Scott Thorson.
Although Damon as played gay before, in The Talented Mr Ripley (and pretended to be gay in an episode of Will & Grace), this is the first time he’s actually had to get physical with another guy. Now he’s been talking about that with Playboy, saying “Michael was a wonderful kisser.”
The snogging took a bit of planning though, with Damon saying, “I had to come out of the pool, go over to Michael Douglas, straddle him on a chaise lounge and start kissing him… It’s not like I kiss him just once. We drew it up like a football plan.”
So how did he prepare for it? “I remember asking Heath Ledger after Brokeback Mountain, ‘How’d you do that scene with Jake?’ – meaning the scene where they start ferociously kissing. He said, ‘Well, mate, I drank a half case of beer in my trailer.’ I started laughing, and he goes, ‘No, I’m serious. I needed to just go for it. If you can’t do that, you’re not making the movie.’”
It’s a film he sounds proud of though, saying, “These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship – a marriage – long before there was gay marriage. That’s not an insignificant thing. The script is beautiful and relatable. Their conversations when they’re dressing or undressing or having a spat or getting ready for bed? That’s every marriage. It feels like you’re witnessing something really intimate you would normally see with a man and a woman, but instead it’s two men, which was thrilling.”
And if you’re a Damon fan, you’ll be pleased to know he’s promising more flesh than we usually get to see in his movies. “Normally I’d say no to nudity,” he says, “but I just did a lot of it playing the long-term partner of Liberace. I mean, it’s tastefully done… But this movie’s not going to be for everyone.”
Some of you may be wishing it wasn’t done tastefully, but it’s nice to know the film isn’t going to be coy.
As for old rumours that stirred early in his career that he and Be Affleck were gay, Matt Says, “I never denied those rumors because I was offended and didn’t want to offend my friends who were gay—as if being gay were some kind of fucking disease. It put me in a weird position in that sense. The whole thing was just gross. But look, there have been great signs of progress—the fact that Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres can come out so beautifully and powerfully, and it’s a big fucking deal that it turns out nobody gives a shit. If Liberace were alive today, everybody would love his music and nobody would care what he did in his private life. Like with Elton John.”
Behind The Candelabra will arrive sometime during 2013.