Over the weekend, Steven Soderbergh went public with the backstory on why Hollywood rejected his Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas as the super flamboyant singer and Matt Damon as his much younger lover Scott Thorson. The Oscar-winning director complained, "They said it was too gay. Everybody...I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us."
A contrarian question: Is Steven Soderbergh part of the problem?
1.) Prolific Soderbergh has released 23 features in 25 years, including sprawling, huge-cast ensembles like Out of Sight, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's 11, 12, 13, and Contagion, yet how many queer relationships has he included in his films? Is the answer none? Six months ago he couldn't even bring himself to acknowledge gay men exist in his male stripper bonanza Magic Mike.
2.) Scott Thorson told CNN he was 16 when he met Liberace, 17 when they began living together, and 23 when he filed his $113 million palimony suit. Soderbergh has cast frequent collaborator Matt Damon to play someone Justin Bieber's age. What beyond the ick factor propelled Soderbergh to rewrite history by casting a 42 year-old as a teenager? Fifty years ago Kubrick had the guts to cast 14 year-old Sue Lyon as Lolita.
3.) Soderbergh says, "We needed $5 million. No one would do it." He, Douglas, and Damon couldn't each pony up $1.67 million?
HBO will air the movie this spring. Thorson's co-writer Alex Thorleifson deserves credit for that perfect title, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.