Also sizzling, "gma" in cannes. Abc's elizabeth vargas sat down with oscar winner michael douglas, to talk about his role playing liberace in "behind the candelabra." And talked about his wife,... See More
Also sizzling, "gma" in cannes. Abc's elizabeth vargas sat down with oscar winner michael douglas, to talk about his role playing liberace in "behind the candelabra." And talked about his wife, catherine zeta-jones. Look at that backdrop. Okay, fellas. It's your turn now. Hey. Reporter: It is a surprising transformation. That's michael douglas behind the capes and rhinestones. A superstar, known for roles in "fatal attraction" and "basic instinct." And now, playing liberace. Steven soderbergh came to you about ten years ago. 2000, when we were doing "traffic." And halfway through the movie, he said, have you thought about playing liberace? I say, thank you very much. I love would to think about it. Reporter: A decade later, a script materialized. Matt damon signed on to play his lover. And voila. We started off with a piano player. I'm not going to be able to get to speed. He's going so fast. Let me get the hands right. Reporter: You copied his hand movements? Yeah. Classical piano players always wore black tuxedos. Plain, black tuxedos. Reporter: All of the furs and the makeup scenes and the capes? No. I think, hmm. Black piano. Black tuxedo. Who's going to see me in this giant clamshell? Well, I ask you, can you see me now? You know, as far as making out with matt, you know, it's not so bad. Reporter: Did you rehearse at all? The scenes, yeah. We rehearsed the scenes. Reporter: The kissing scenes? You know, for me, I guess the thrill the first time I saw it. After a few minutes, I really forget it's matt. Matt and mike, you know? I think it's just -- forget it's us. Reporter: He was really, in many ways, a tortured soul, liberace. I mean, he lived his complete private life as a lie. I mean, nobody could ever know at that time, that he was gay. I don't know if he was -- elizabeth, I say he was tortured. He protected himself. Reporter: Douglas can identify more than most with the notion of trying to protect private struggles. His wife, catherine zeta-jones, recently went back into treatment for her bipolar disorder. How is catherine doing? She's doing very well. You know, bipolar issues are an -- it involves meds. And if you don't, you know, balance it out right, it can take you on a slippery slope. Reporter: And his son, cameron, who has had a very public battle with addiction, is now serving a nine-year prison sentence on drug charges. You did say recently in an interview that you thought he was getting punished a little bit because of his last name. He received the longest sentence in the history of the americanenal system for having drugs in prison. And his case, it was a minor slip. So, we're trying to understand it, how they justified it. Reporter: There was also douglas' own painful battle with throat cancer three years ago, an illness that made this movie difficult for his famous father, kirk, to watch. Has your father seen the movie? He has. He was very uncomfortable with my death scene. Reporter: Lit a little close to home. I think it did, a little bit. Reporter: In many ways right now, you are enjoying second shots galore. I mean, you have a second shot at life, beating cancer. Second shot at fatherhood, with two, small kids. What's different now about you than before? You know, when I had cameron, when I was younger, I was, you know, very much immersed in my career. So, never anticipating having children again. It's such a treat. Probably professionally and everything else -- he does have that down. Great to see him doing so well and know that his wife is doing well, too. And the movie is so fascinating to see this relationship develop. We've been talking about it forever here. He disappears it looks like in that role. And it's not easy to wear those clothes. And he pulled that off, as well. We saw the clothes when jerry weintraub was here. In the studio, yeah. "Behind the candelabra" will air this sunday on hbo.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.