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View Full Version : Michael Douglas to play Liberace in movie: can you see it?


Sampiro
04-26-2011, 06:02 PM
Title says it all, but here's a link:

Michael Douglas to play Liberace in Soderbergh pic (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/04/22/michael_douglas_says_steven_soderberghs_liberace_is_still_aiming_for_a_fall/); Matt Damon is signed on as Lee's lover.

I was surprised when I heard this (he was on Oprah this week so it's been in the news) but apparently the project's been in development for years. I used to enjoyed the campiness of Liberace when he was alive and I've liked some of Soderbergh's work, but considering that

-The Liberace Museum closed last year (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/04/22/michael_douglas_says_steven_soderberghs_liberace_is_still_aiming_for_a_fall/)due to insufficient attendance to meet overhead

-Liberace died years before most current college students (i.e. big movie demo age) were born

-Liberace's fan base when he was alive was mostly middle aged to old women (not an often targeted movie audience demo plus his original fans would be ancient now)

-Douglas, Damon and mega glitz and even artificial chinchilla are cheap thus this is not a low budget movie

I have to say it's a project I wouldn't invest the 401K in.

Thoughts?

Bryan Ekers
04-26-2011, 06:05 PM
Who's playing George?

Roderick Femm
04-26-2011, 06:11 PM
I would be interested in seeing it if it dealt in a thoughtful way with Liberace's conflictedness about his sexuality. I mean on the one hand he was next door to a drag queen in the way he dressed, but on the other he steadfastly denied he was gay to his dying breath (as far as the public knows, anyway). Was he just a canny performer who knew that ambiguity sells? Was he the victim of internalized homophobia? Does anyone really know (who can be relied on to tell the truth as best they know it)?

If it's just going to be a campy sendup of a campy performer, not so much.


Roddy

Sampiro
04-26-2011, 06:31 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if Liberace somehow convinced himself he was straight even as he was having sex with rent boys.

The biographies of him I've read imply that he was largely if not completely celibate while his mother was alive and then went "It's rainin' men!" after she died in 1980. He went through a promiscuous phase when he was in his early 60s when, he had no way of knowing, it was the absolute worst possible time to be promiscuous (the dawn of the first AIDS outbreak).

typoink
04-26-2011, 08:27 PM
I can see it. Musical biopics are in. Campy showmanship and midcentury entertainment are seeing a bit of a nostalgia thing. And Liberace is practically the consumate closet case (not to mention a narcissest of terrifying proportions) -- I think that's a psychology that could play well on the screen.

It's like Ray mixed with Capote, with camp.

Might be a tough sell for most, but I'll watch it.

China Guy
04-26-2011, 08:53 PM
Dunno, I'm betting the movie is horrid but might be so bad it's good? 1% chance? IIRC, Liberace had no shortage of cameo's or gratuitious scenes when alive.

I digress but I was in Hong Kong in 1986, in some rat infested hostel that cost a couple dollars a night. A group of us low rent types were watching the nightly English language movie. It was the story of a group of special needs kids who had the dream that if they did a Liberace tribute musical on stage, that Liberace would join them. Absolutely mindbogglingly unreal but at the end Liberace is in the audience and then he does join them on stage.

Anyone else catch this flick? Know the name?

twickster
04-26-2011, 09:00 PM
I know I mention it every time we talk about Liberace, but I loved this book (http://www.amazon.com/Liberace-American-Darden-Asbury-Pyron/dp/0226686698/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303869400&sr=1-2), which is a serious look at him -- and which I think Soderbergh is basing this on. I like him, I like Michael Douglas, and I like Matt Damon.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to this, and I expect it to be a good movie.

Really.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
04-26-2011, 09:03 PM
Thoughts?If I were the producer, I'd be somewhat cautions about investing a lot of money knowing that the star has might not make it thru filming. Howdya insure someone like that?

Jim's Son
04-26-2011, 10:36 PM
I can't wait to miss this film

astorian
04-26-2011, 10:38 PM
I can't wait to miss this film

I'm with you- in fact, I think I'll get in line not to see it right now. I may have to camp out a few days, but it will be WORTH it.

bahia hombre
04-26-2011, 10:42 PM
Can Michael Douglas play piano? It will be a lousy casting if he has to fake throughout. If he can actually play like Jamie Foxx did in Ray he will be fine.

panache45
04-26-2011, 10:48 PM
I hope the movie is mostly about Liberace's later life, because at the peak of his career he was quite a lot younger than Douglas' current age (late 60s). Perhaps they can use Douglas' older son for the early scenes . . . though I understand he's booked for the next several years.

Sampiro
04-26-2011, 11:04 PM
. . . though I understand he's booked for the next several years.

That's cold, man.

:D

Argent Towers
04-27-2011, 01:45 AM
At this point I can't really buy Michael Douglas as anyone other than MICHAEL DOUGLAS.

Bryan Ekers
04-27-2011, 06:56 AM
I digress but I was in Hong Kong in 1986, in some rat infested hostel that cost a couple dollars a night. A group of us low rent types were watching the nightly English language movie. It was the story of a group of special needs kids who had the dream that if they did a Liberace tribute musical on stage, that Liberace would join them. Absolutely mindbogglingly unreal but at the end Liberace is in the audience and then he does join them on stage.

Anyone else catch this flick? Know the name?

Special People (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088158/) from 1984, based on the life of Diane Dupuy (http://www.dianedupuy.ca/) and her efforts to create "The Famous PEOPLE Players", a troupe of developmentally challenged shadow-puppeteers. Their Liberace bit was highlighted in the film (no doubt because the film-makers had managed to secure Liberace's agreement to play himself in it) but they did other routines as well.

CalMeacham
04-27-2011, 07:28 AM
IIRC, Liberace had no shortage of cameo's or gratuitious scenes when alive.

Because we had some sheet music from it, it's always stuck in my head that Liberace appeared in When the Boys Meet the Girls, performing "Aruba Liberace".


Actually, according to iMDB he had very few "legitimate" movie parts, this being one of less than a dozen appearances, although he frequently appeared on TV.

Sigmagirl
04-27-2011, 07:30 AM
I would be interested in seeing it if it dealt in a thoughtful way with Liberace's conflictedness about his sexuality. I mean on the one hand he was next door to a drag queen in the way he dressed, but on the other he steadfastly denied he was gay to his dying breath (as far as the public knows, anyway). Was he just a canny performer who knew that ambiguity sells? Was he the victim of internalized homophobia? Does anyone really know (who can be relied on to tell the truth as best they know it)?

If it's just going to be a campy sendup of a campy performer, not so much.


Roddy

I think the former sounds quite interesting, and it seems that's what they're going for, but I'd really like to see a quality, non-campy Ray-type biopic about the height of his career. Showing both the shrewd businessman and the over-the-top performer, with his legions of fans and his love for his Polish mother and his way-deep-in-the closet denial.

ministryman
04-27-2011, 07:56 AM
Title says it all, but here's a link:

Michael Douglas to play Liberace in Soderbergh pic (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/04/22/michael_douglas_says_steven_soderberghs_liberace_is_still_aiming_for_a_fall/); Matt Damon is signed on as Lee's lover.

I was surprised when I heard this (he was on Oprah this week so it's been in the news) but apparently the project's been in development for years. I used to enjoyed the campiness of Liberace when he was alive and I've liked some of Soderbergh's work, but considering that

-The Liberace Museum closed last year (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/04/22/michael_douglas_says_steven_soderberghs_liberace_is_still_aiming_for_a_fall/)due to insufficient attendance to meet overhead

-Liberace died years before most current college students (i.e. big movie demo age) were born

-Liberace's fan base when he was alive was mostly middle aged to old women (not an often targeted movie audience demo plus his original fans would be ancient now)

-Douglas, Damon and mega glitz and even artificial chinchilla are cheap thus this is not a low budget movie

I have to say it's a project I wouldn't invest the 401K in.

Thoughts?

I'm thinking that Sir Elton John or Philip Seymour Hoffman would be a better choice for Liberace.

EJ would so be in his element, and PSH seems to play gay fairly well.

Just my two cents.

China Guy
04-27-2011, 10:20 AM
Special People (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088158/) from 1984, based on the life of Diane Dupuy (http://www.dianedupuy.ca/) and her efforts to create "The Famous PEOPLE Players", a troupe of developmentally challenged shadow-puppeteers. Their Liberace bit was highlighted in the film (no doubt because the film-makers had managed to secure Liberace's agreement to play himself in it) but they did other routines as well.Thanks for that. I couldn't find it.

phungi
04-27-2011, 10:28 AM
unfortunately, since reading this thread title, I can see nothing but it...

Chefguy
04-27-2011, 11:41 AM
I'd prefer to see Schwartzeneger in the role. It could be his comeback film.

Sampiro
04-27-2011, 11:48 AM
Actually, according to iMDB he had very few "legitimate" movie parts, this being one of less than a dozen appearances, although he frequently appeared on TV.

He was great as a smarmy funeral planner in The Loved One. Not so much as the romantic lead in Sincerely Yours, a melodrama about a musician going deaf- for some reason I can't put my finger on his romantic chemistry with Joanne Dru was missing something.

He joked about it by saying "I did my part for motion pictures... I stopped making them."

lindsaybluth
04-27-2011, 11:50 AM
I'm thinking (hoping?) it'll be a good film. Like typoink said, musical biopics are definitely in, so I don't think the genre is a concern. Liberace is pretty universally famous, even among younger people. And I think Douglas will play him well.

I think how good it is will almost definitely hinge on this: I would be interested in seeing it if it dealt in a thoughtful way with Liberace's conflictedness about his sexuality. I mean on the one hand he was next door to a drag queen in the way he dressed, but on the other he steadfastly denied he was gay to his dying breath (as far as the public knows, anyway). Was he just a canny performer who knew that ambiguity sells? Was he the victim of internalized homophobia? Does anyone really know (who can be relied on to tell the truth as best they know it)?

Elendil's Heir
04-27-2011, 12:05 PM
I think it has real potential, and I could see Douglas in the role. Anyone who can do play very different roles so well in The China Syndrome, Falling Down, The American President and Wall Street can probably play Liberace.

I can't say I'll be first in line on opening night, though.

gaffa
04-27-2011, 12:52 PM
Hey, it's Soderberg! Even his failures are interesting.

I have no idea if Douglas can play piano. Jeff Bridges could do a wonderful job with this role.

ministryman
04-27-2011, 01:02 PM
Hey, it's Soderberg! Even his failures are interesting.

I have no idea if Douglas can play piano. Jeff Bridges could do a wonderful job with this role.


You could throw RuPaul in and call it the

The Ghetto Fabulous Liberace Boys

aldiboronti
04-27-2011, 02:41 PM
Hope it's a hit, then if all the critics slam the movie Michael Douglas can cry all the way to the bank. (Liberace's phrase of course, always robbed of its wit and mangled now as 'laugh all the way to the bank')

gaffa
04-27-2011, 03:14 PM
Hope it's a hit, then if all the critics slam the movie Michael Douglas can cry all the way to the bank. (Liberace's phrase of course, always robbed of its wit and mangled now as 'laugh all the way to the bank')
The Wikipedia entry has him saying both "laugh" and "cry", with references to both.

Sampiro
04-27-2011, 07:20 PM
I think "cry" was the original. Either way, in later years he used to add "Remember that bank I used to go crying to? I bought it!"

George and his brother had a couple of major falling outs over the years and rarely spoke off-stage. (George did occasionally perform with him, largely because he made more money doing that than from any of his solo projects.) The opposite of Lee, George married five times and had a reputation as a skirt chaser. His daughter Ina was for many years (and may still be, no idea) the partner of actress Kristy McNichol.

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