10:11am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Matt Damon, Michael Douglas to Star in HBO's Liberace Biopic
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon have been tapped to star in HBO Films’ Liberace biopic.
Behind the Candelabrawill star Douglas as Liberace in the project that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between the legendary entertainer and Scott Thorson, his younger, live-in lover (Damon).
The project will be executive produced by Jerry Weintraub (Ocean's Eleven) and produced by Gregory Jacobs (The Informant!) and Susan Ekins (The Karate Kid series), with Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) directing the script by Richard LaGravenese (Water for Elephants).
"This is a story that's going to surprise a lot of people," HBO Films president Len Amato said Tuesday in announcing the casting. "It's funny, heartbreaking and always fascinating, and we are delighted that Jerry and Steven brought the film to HBO. With Steven at the helm, directing such accomplished actors as Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, this is a dream project for us."
Production will begin next summer in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.
For Weintraub, the project marks a reunion with the premium cable network that aired his biopic, His Way this year.
"I've wanted to make a film about Liberace for a very long time, and after the amazing experience I had with HBO on His Way, I knew that they were absolutely the right place for this movie," he said. "I am thrilled that we have the incomparable Michael Douglas to inhabit the role of Liberace, as well as the exceptional Matt Damon to play the pivotal part of Scott Thorson. Putting these two fine actors in the creative hands of Steven Soderberg -- it doesn't get better than that."
Soderbergh, meanwhile, noted HBO's "fearless approach" to original programming in bringing the project to the pay cabler.
"From the inception of this project, we've had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it," he said.
For Weintraub, the project marks the latest in a string of small-screen work. CBS earlier this month picked up The Producer, a period drama project. set in the world of the evening news.