Sunday night marks the premiere of "Behind the Candelabra," a Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas as the flamboyant pianist. Based on a memoir by the musician's young lover Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon), the HBO film has received mostly positive reviews, with critics noting that its stars disappear into their roles, both physically and metaphorically.
"It had to look as real as possible, so we spent a lot of time in the makeup chair," Douglas, 68, told the Metro newspaper. "Before you know it, everything seems to come together. You put on the right outfit, have the right hairdo and there you go!"
But how successful were they? Take a look!
One of Liberace's most famous get-ups was his King Neptune costume, which reportedly weighed over 200 lbs. "Candelabra" costume designer Ellen Mirojnick told the New York Post that it took three weeks to create a similar look (with lots of embroidery and appliqué) for Douglas.
|Pretending to Play|
The gold lamé-clad star (circa 1950) was one of the greatest performers of all time, but Douglas had a tough time learning to play like the master. So while his glittery piano was right on-point, "I focused on mimicking his hand gestures," he told Metro.
|The Look of Love|
The film focuses on Liberace's sometimes-volatile relationship with Thorson (together in Los Angeles), and features several steamy scenes. "As far as making out with Matt, it's not so bad," Douglas told "Good Morning America." "We rehearsed the scenes. For me, I guess that biggest thrill is when I first saw it, after a few minutes, I really forget it's Matt. Matt and Mike, you know? I just forget it's us."
|Glitz, Glamour—and Lasagna|
Liberace, wearing fur in Chicago in 1982, owned many eye-catching ensembles, but his favorite look, his "lasagna" costume, was similar to the one Douglas is wearing. "Liberace used to say that he loved that costume because he could eat lasagna and you would never notice if he spilled on it," Connie Furr Soloman, a costume designer who wrote a Liberace book, told the New York Post.
Even while relaxing in his Beverly Hills home, Liberace (in 1961), looked sharp—and the "Candelabra" crew made sure to replicate his looks as precisely as possible. In fact, Mirojnick told the Post that she had his jewelry recreated exactly in precious metals and veneered.