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HBO Films Backs Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace Pic ‘Behind The Candelabra’; Set For Summer 2012 Shoot

HBO Films Backs Steven Soderbergh's Liberace Pic 'Behind The Candelabra'; Set For Summer 2012 Shoot

While Steven Soderbergh has never been busier — “Contagion” hit theaters last month, “Magic Mike” is now shooting and “Haywire” will hit theaters in early 2012 — he’s gained even more attention since reports of his impending hiatus/retirement. But don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, as the man still has lots to do. Of course, there is the Warner Bros. tentpole “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in development, but while that one is still looking for a leading man after George Clooney had to bow out, Soderbergh’s long-gestating Liberace pic “Behind The Candelabra” is moving forward.

The project is now set up over at HBO Films, who formally announced today that the biopic will begin shooting in the summer of 2012. Originally planned to lense in June 2010, the picture was sidelined due to Michael Douglas‘ battle with cancer (Soderbergh went on to shoot “Contagion” instead), and the busy schedule of Matt Damon, whose work on Cameron Crowe‘s “We Bought A Zoo” and Neill Blomkamp‘s “Elysium” more or less booked up his 2011. But everything is now back on track for what should be a very promising endeavor.

Penned by Richard LaGravenese (“Water for Elephants,” “The Fisher King”) and inspired by “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace” by Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson, the film will find Douglas putting on the wig in the lead role with Damon co-starring as Thorson, the performer’s secret lover who engaged in a globetrotting romance with the star. After their relationship deteriorated, Thorson filed a massive lawsuit against Liberace, before watching him die of AIDS. It’s certainly a role unlike anything Douglas has done, well, ever, and when we spoke to producer Jerry Weintraub earlier this year, he told us audiences will be in for a big surprise.

“He’s perfect for it. I have pictures of him dressed up like Liberace, it’ll knock your socks off,” he said.

Too early for release date info yet, but don’t expect to see it until 2013. The big question that remains is whether or not Soderbergh still plans to mount “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” before ‘Candelabra’ — a February shoot is tentatively planned — or if it will now happen after. Lord knows, the man works fast enough that he could conceivably do it, but casting will likely be a factor in determining whether it goes ahead as planned or waits to find the right U.N.C.L.E. for the job.

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