After putting Al Pacino in a fright wig to play Phil Spector, HBO is cranking out another delightfully trashy biopic next month with "Behind the Candelabra," based on Scott Thorson's tell-all book about his five-year affair with famed pianist Liberace. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon dive into these pulpy waters headfirst as Liberace and Scott, and this first-look trailer certainly gives us an eyeful… in many respects.
It opens with the much younger Scott meeting Liberace backstage and gushing over his performance: "You were incredible out there." A heavily made-up Liberace looks very pleased to make Scott's acquaintance: "This must be fate," he says, while giving Scott a thorough once-over with his eyes.
Liberace pulls Scott into his glitzy world, hiring Scott to chauffeur him onstage in a Rolls-Royce during his Vegas act. We see Damon looking ripped climbing out of Liberace's swimming pool in a tiny white Speedo, as Scott enjoys his first taste of the good life. Last month, Damon told Entertainment Weekly he had to get weekly spray tans to prepare for "Candelabra's" swimsuit scenes: "Every Sunday night, this girl would come to my house and I would stand in my garage and I would hike my boxer briefs up into the crack of my a-- and she would give me a spray tan." We can't argue with the results, though:
Later on in the trailer, we get a glimpse of Liberace and Scott in bed together, with Liberace telling his lover, "I want to be everything to you, Scott. I want to be your father, brother, lover, best friend." (Yikes.) He even has Scott undergo plastic surgery so they can look more alike. All signs of a healthy relationship, right?
But of course, things eventually turn sour: Liberace starts resenting his boy-toy ("All I do is give and give and give") and Scott turns to drugs to fill the emotional void. They have a nasty argument while sharing a bubble bath, and Scott smashes a vase against the wall while screaming, "I don't even have my own face!" It all plays out like a slightly gayer "Boogie Nights," with Scott in the Dirk Diggler role, going from rags to riches to drugs… and back to rags again.
We can barely absorb all the crazy '70s fashions and supporting stars that race by in this trailer. (Scott Bakula with shaggy hair and a 'stache! Rob Lowe as Liberace's weird-looking plastic surgeon!) But we're definitely in on this one, especially with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh at the helm. Now all we need is feathered hair and a sequin-covered suit for the viewing party. But we still have a few weeks, right?
"Behind the Candelabra" premieres Sunday, 5/26 at 9 PM on HBO.