Michael Douglas as Liberace: A Beautiful Sight Tainted
The tragic Hollywood institution that is the biopic isn’t going away anytime soon–much to mine and probably everyone else’s dismay. But from the glory days of The Agony and the Ecstasy and Lust for Life, to the Oscar-worthy performance of Stephen Fry‘s wig in Wilde, to the mutant freak of the genre that was Julie & Julia, there’s usually something redeeming to be had from even the worst biography-based, celebrity-stuffed films, if only at a camp level. At this point, I’ve gotten as used to it as I’m going to get, while remaining horrified and skeptical at each new installment. So you can imagine how I felt about the news of Michael Douglas as Liberace in Stephen Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, an HBO dramatization of the Glitter Man’s life and times. Not positive. Not positive at all. And yet, when today brought us a clandestine look at the first image from the film, my head was turned in the best way possible.
But though the figure of Michael Douglas, pompadoured, floral-shirted, and fitted with a truly ’70s pair of sunglasses, may go beyond the modest reach of your wildest hopes and dreams for this project, you’ll also notice a separate figure, lurking slyly in the background.
That’s right, it’s Matt Damon. How foolish of me–you may be thinking–to believe even for a second that one good thing could have been allowed to survive unspoiled by the ubiquitous, damning presence of Matt Damon. No, in this world, we have to take the good with the bad, and behind every fabulous picture of Michael Douglas as Liberace, there’s always going to be a terrible picture of Matt Damon as his boyfriend. His sun-bleached coiffure, his tart expression, the gigantism of his lapels, all combine to make a doomed venture of Soderbergh’s much-anticipated trip into the land of ’70s haircuts. But the more fool us for believing it could have gone smoothly in the first place.
Matt Damon, get a new wig. SASHAY AWAY.
Michael Douglas, yours is just fine the way it is. SHANTAY, YOU STAY.