Steven Soderbergh says every major studio thought Liberace flick was “too gay” for them to make
If you’ve got two proven box office stars (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon) set to star and a production budget of just $5 million, it would seem like one of Hollywood’s major studios would have said yes to making Behind the Candelabra which tells the story of Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson.
But at the TV Critics Association winter press tour today, director Steven Soderbergh said he was turned down by every single studio before HBO agreed to make the film.
‘They said it was too gay,’ Soderbergh told us. ‘This is after Brokeback Mountain by the way. I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us. Nobody would make it, went to everybody in town.’
‘I’m really glad we ended up at HBO because I think ultimately more people will see it and that’s all we care about, Soderbergh added.
The director, whose most recent film was the summer box office hit Magic Mike, told me that being on premium cable also resulted in more creative freedom.
‘There just would have been more anxiety (at the studios,’ he said. ‘To HBO, the whole thing looked like a slam dunk whereas the studios were going, ‘We don’t know how to sell it.’
Soderbergh won the Academy Award for directing Traffic. His other films include Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s 13, Haywire, Out of Sight and Sex, Lies and Videotape, among others.