‘Behind the Candelabra’:
9 p.m. Sunday, HBO
Television movies rarely generate the sort of buzz that HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” has, but how often do TV movies, even on premium cable, feature Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as lovers?
The film revolves around the relationship between Liberace and Scott Thorson, who was his partner for years.
This takes Liberace and Scott from their 1977 meeting, when Liberace was a Vegas headliner and Scott a naive kid, through their five-year relationship, public breakup and eventually Liberace’s death from AIDS in 1987.
In the beginning, Scott is 17, which Damon acknowledges is a stretch.
“Seventeen’s way out of my range,” Damon says, shaking his head and laughing. “And I said that to Steven (Soderbergh, the director). ‘This is ridiculous!’ I am 42. I look younger than I am, but I don’t look that much younger. I probably look 30 more than 20. It is more about an older guy who loves a younger guy.”
Liberace had a penchant for younger men. Much has been made about the sex scenes, and Douglas and Damon, in separate interviews, laugh about it. Still, what were those steamy scenes like? “There’s anxiety because you don’t want to screw it up,” Damon says. “And it is a place where everyone is going to be looking carefully. To me it’s much less about the kissing and more about how you are with someone in your most intimate relationship. There’s a physical comfort level when you are in the room with your husband or wife. There are no secrets.”