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October 15, 2018

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Michael Douglas and Matt Damon’s Liberace film gets a title and a cable TV home

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Liberace Museum

Liberace, seated at his Pleyel piano at the Liberace Museum on April 15, 1979.

Liberace Museum Closes

Fans wait in line to enter the Liberace Museum on its final day of business after 31 years of operation in Las Vegas, Sunday, October 17, 2010. Launch slideshow »
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Matt Damon at Ante Up for Africa at The Rio on July 2, 2010.

Cue the pianist: The long-anticipated feature film telling the story of Liberace’s life and career has a title and a home.

“Behind the Candelabra” is the title of the film starring Michael Douglas in the lead role and Matt Damon as Liberace’s longtime lover and costumed chauffeur, Scott Thorson. HBO announced today that it would broadcast the biopic. No air date has been revealed, but shooting is to begin next summer. Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh is directing, and the producer is Jerry Weintraub.

Las Vegas will be among the shooting locations for the film, which has no formal affiliation with The Liberace Foundation, the organization that oversees his vast collection of pianos, cars, jewelry, stage costumes and other personal artifacts that were once housed in The Liberace Museum. Citing a depletion of visitors and funding, officials closed the museum nearly a year ago to the day of the announcement of the film’s title and cable TV home.

The Liberace film was first openly discussed by Douglas and Damon in 2009, but the future of the project was thrown into doubt as the 67-year-old Douglas fell victim to throat cancer. But this year, he has said that he is in remission and eager to take on the role of Liberace, one of Las Vegas’ greatest entertainers and cultural icons.

In July 2010 during an appearance at Don Cheadle’s Ante Up for Africa charity poker tournament at the Rio, Damon said, “"It's a terrific script. Richard LaGravenese has written a really great script and, you know, hopefully it will be a really great movie. I don't see why it wouldn't be."

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at twitter.com/KatsWithTheDish.

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