Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh said Friday (4 January) that he was ‘stunned’ when every single major Hollywood studio passed on making his movie Behind the Candelabra which will air on HBO this spring.
The movie tells the story of the flamboyant star Liberace and his relationship with a much younger man named Scott Thorson.
‘They said it was too gay,’ Soderbergh told Gay Star News and other outlets during the annual Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena.
‘This is after Brokeback Mountain by the way,’ Soderbergh added. ‘I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us. Nobody would make it, went to everybody in town.’
This despite the fact that two proven box office superstars, Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, had agreed to star and the film had a small budget of $5 million.
The film, based on a memoir of the same name written by Thorson, ended up being made by the premium cable channel HBO.
‘I’m really glad we ended up at HBO because I think ultimately more people will see it and that’s all we care about, Soderbergh said.
The director, whose most recent film was the summer box office hit Magic Mike, told Gay Star News that being on premium cable also resulted in more creative freedom.
‘There just would have been more anxiety (at the studios,’ he said. ‘To HBO, the whole thing looked like a slam dunk whereas the studios were going, ‘We don’t know how to sell it.’
Soderbergh won the Academy Award for directing Traffic. His other films include Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s 13, Haywire, Out of Sight and Sex, Lies and Videotape, among others.