From Soderbergh Sour Notes About Making Liberace Biopic
Director Steven Soderbergh, whose movies represent a cross-section of film fare -- from the more-than-four-hour-long commercial failure Che (it earned less than $1.5 million at the box office) to the box office hits Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve -- says it is difficult to find financing for a film "that's not bubbly and positive all the time." That, it seems, was certainly his experience in trying to find backing for Candelabra , about the famous pianist/entertainer Liberace. Despite the fact that the subject of the film always appeared "bubbly and positive" in public; despite the fact that it was being produced by Jerry Weintraub; despite the fact that the screenplay was written by Oscar-nominated Richard LaGravenese ( The Fisher King ), who also wrote Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich ; and despite the fact that it stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, Soderbergh told Reuters that he couldn't find a U.S. studio to pay the paltry $5-8 million to finance it. Their main complaint, he told the wire service was that the project was "too gay." It was a complaint that baffled Soderbergh, he indicated. "What do you say to something like that?" It was, he said, "an indication to me of just where the business is going now." Studios, he said, have becoming very resistant to any movie "that's not a fantasy or a comic book film." By contrast, it would appear, his current project, Magic Mike , about a male stripper played by Channing Tatum, amounted to easy sailing from start to finish. Soderbergh seemed to enjoy the shoot, too, and maintains that he has no "desire to consciously make something that would be viewed as 'important.' ... [ Che] totally carved that out of my system."