The New Stuff

Michael Douglas to Play Liberace in Biopic


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. --- Michael Douglas feeling stronger following cancer treatment is set to take the lead in a film about flamboyant pianist, Liberace in an upcoming biopic.

The film, which co-stars Matt Damon as Liberace’s longtime lover, will be directed by Ocean’s director Steven Soderbergh.

"We've already done some costume and wardrobe tests on Michael, and they're very, very, very good." Soderbergh told a French newspaper at the Deauville Film Festival. "I swear to you, Michael amazed me. He crushed it."

Born Wladziu Valentino, the flamboyant, piano-playing Liberace, nicknamed "Mr. Showmanship" and "Glitter Man," was a staple of early 1950s television, and was an institution in Las Vegas until his death from AIDS in 1987. At his height, he made more money than Elvis and The Beatles.

Damon, Soderbergh said, has agreed to portray Scott Thorsen, the assistant/boyfriend whose 1982 palimony suit for $110 million publicly outed the entertainer.

"Matt accepted the challenge," Soderbergh said. "But I have to say I'd already convinced him to gain 30 pounds for the “Informant”

The movie is based on a script by writer/director Richard Lagravense, who wrote responsible The Bridges of Madison County. Soderbergh said the budget will allow filmmakers to re-stage segments of Liberace's spectacular stage act, which often involved elaborate stunts such as flying or driving to his piano bench in a Rolls-Royce.

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