Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Douglas' nerves over Liberace role

Michael Dougals was unsure about taking on the role of Liberace

Michael Douglas has revealed he was nervous before taking on the role of Liberace.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor has won praise for his stunning performance as the flamboyant showman in Steven Soderbergh's feature-length biopic, Behind The Candelabra, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

"This is the first time I played a character that people knew. I had a lot of trepidation," he admitted.

Part of Michael's doubts stemmed from his physical transformation into Liberace, who underwent cosmetic surgery throughout the years.

"Lee was broad-chested. One of his thighs is the same size as two of mine, so I was a little put off in terms of the physicality aspect," the actor revealed.

"We were really blessed with talented people [on set]. In this high-definition age, hair and make-up always makes me very nervous. We were freaked out the first time we saw the masks that they used for the surgery."

The 68-year-old - who is best known for playing ruthless financier Gordon Gekko in the Wall Street films - said playing Liberace was worlds apart from his other work.

"He had a very savvy sense of showmanship. Everybody said he was a wonderful host, very generous, gracious, loved, and was the forefather to Elton John, Lady Gaga and some others in creating that style," the actor said. "Besides all his popularity in Las Vegas, the television show The Liberace Show made him well-known to everybody in the world."

He added: "It was one of his great abilities to bring the audience into the room with him. And with that camp style, there was a genuine quality - about him, his performances and how happy he wanted to make people - that won everyone over."

:: Behind The Candelabra is in cinemas now.

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