The HBO movie is based on Thorson’s 1988 autobiographical novel by the same name. Thorson was 17 when he became the flamboyant piano player’s lover for five years. Liberace, however, denied he was homosexual throughout his life.
He even sued an English and an American tabloid in the 1950s for hinting strongly that he was gay. The offending description by a London Daily Mirror columnist became a classic.
Liberace was described as “the summit of sex—the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter… a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love.”
Whether the HBO movie captures that spirit remains to be seen. Douglas seems to capture Liberace’s flamboyance and flair, and Damon is smooth and handsome as a blonde-headed Thorson. Liberace is a dominating figure in Thorson’s life and objectifies him while at the same time controlling and remolding him.
The trailer captures a juicy scene when the pianist, Thorson and Liberace’s plastic surgeon, played by Rob Lowe (of all people). Liberace wants Thorson made over to look more like him. Thorson rebelled at times, but never let go of the relationship.
To keep the young lad under his thumb, Liberace hired him as his chauffeur, but the had a famous falling out in 1982, and Thorson, then 22, sued him for $113 million in palimony after he was fired.
Liberace went to his grave denying he was a homosexual. But in a 2011 CNN interview Betty White confirmed he was gay and said she often acted as his beard to throw reporters off the trail. The movie, directed by Steven Soderbergh, debuts in May.
Check out the trailer below and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest in film and television news.