What's on,Television movies rarely generate the sort of buzz that HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" has, but how often do TV movies, even on premium cable, feature Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as lovers?
Premiering May 26, the film revolves around the relationship between Liberace and Scott Thorson, who was his partner for years.
This takes Liberace and Scott from their 1977 meeting, when Liberace was a Vegas headliner and Scott a naive kid, through their five-year relationship, public breakup and eventually Liberace's death from AIDS in 1987.
In the beginning, Scott is 17, which Damon acknowledges is a stretch.
"Seventeen's way out of my range," Damon says, shaking his head and laughing. "And I said that to Steven (Soderbergh, the director), 'This is ridiculous!' I am 42. I look younger than I am, but I don't look that much younger. I probably look 30 more than 20. It is more about an older guy who loves a younger guy."
Liberace had a penchant for younger men. Much has been made about the sex scenes, and Douglas and Damon laugh about it.
"There's anxiety because you don't want to screw it up," Damon says. "And it is a place where everyone is going to be looking carefully. To me, it's much less about the kissing and more about how you are with someone in your most intimate relationship."
"Was it weird kissing Michael Douglas?" Damon says. "Yeah, but to be honest, it's weird kissing anyone on camera. You are five feet away from 40 of your closest friends."
"Call me easy, but we didn't think about it much," Douglas says. "I was teasing Matt about his Brazilian tan line on his butt. We just felt comfortable."
Once Liberace and Scott settle into a relationship, there are sweet domestic scenes, such as watching TV, eating popcorn -- the mundane living of any relationship.
"Together we realized what a true love story it was," Douglas says. "I am happiest if you forget that is Matt and I. Forget it is two guys. It is two people very much in love and the fights, the squabbles and things that go on."
Soderbergh does a terrific job of showing the day-to-day lives of the couple, but it was an unusual setup because Liberace had been such a huge star and lived so large. He wore a $300,000 white virgin fox coat, lined with $100,000 in crystals and sequins.
Liberace was famous for his ornate outfits. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick clearly did massive research to nail down every detail.
"Who was the real Liberace?" Mirojnick says she pondered. "That is what I really started thinking about. I could not help but really want to investigate who was the real guy, not what did he wear, but who was he? What was his life about?"
The movie took years to make, and it finally all worked. "This is a character piece," Douglas says. "I didn't worry about it. Three years after cancer, I am just really happy to be acting again."
Jacqueline Cutler is a writer for Zap2it.com.,TV highlights
for the week of
May 26-June 1, 2013,SUNDAY
8 p.m. on PBS
National Memorial Day Concert 2013
Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna return to host this tribute to service members and veterans, airing from the West Lawn of the Capitol. This year's concert includes a salute to actor and World War II veteran Charles Durning, a longtime participant in the event who died in December. Performers include Katherine Jenkins and Chris Mann.
9 p.m. on NBC
Tonight is all about the Tony Awards; in the first hour, the gang awaits news of who's nominated, then the big night arrives in "The Nominations; The Tonys."
9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Rock My RV With Bret Michaels
Rock star and entrepreneur Bret Michaels turns a fascinating array of run-down RVs into mobile mansions for their deserving owners in this fun and functional new series.Michaels has logged more than 3 million miles in motor homes.
10 p.m. on Showtime
To contain the plague, Cesare (Francois Arnaud) burns Costanzo's palace with him inside. A young beauty catches Micheletto's (Sean Harris) eye. Realizing that her family needs a power base in Naples, Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) engineers the ascent of Prince Frederigo (Luke Allen-Gale) to the throne, in part by framing his rival for an attempt on his life, in the new episode "Lucrezia's Gambit."
7 p.m. on National Geographic
Inside World War II
This new documentary program takes an intimate look at personal wartime experiences from the perspective of a wide variety of veterans and citizens who endured the front lines' bloody conflicts day by day, hour by hour and second by second.
8 p.m. on ABC
Desiree Hartsock had her heart broken by Sean Lowe on "The Bachelor" but won America's hearts in the process. Now the 26-year- old Californian doles out the rose boutonnieres in her own multicontinental search for true love. Chris Harrison hosts.
8 p.m. on The CW
Movie: Memorial Day
The masterful actor James Cromwell shares a role with his son John in this 2011 drama. James plays the older incarnation of a World War II soldier who never has discussed his military experience since actually serving -- until he strikes a deal with his grandson (a part also split between two actors, Jonathan Bennett and Jackson Bond) to relate the stories behind three of his wartime mementos.
8 p.m. on Animal Planet
In "Legend of Loch Ness," a special two-hour Memorial Day episode that concludes Season 5, Jeremy Wade heads on a quest in search of one of the world's most legendary river monsters: the Loch Ness Monster.
9 p.m. on Lifetime
Movie: Ring of Fire
Behind the Man in Black there was, indeed, a very good woman. This heartfelt new biopic stars four-time Grammy nominee Jewel as June Carter Cash, recounting the steel magnolia's meteoric rise to country music fame with the Carter Family and her life before and during her tumultuous union with Johnny Cash (Matt Ross, "Big Love").
9 p.m. on A&E
The sun-drenched crime hit returns for Season 4 with a case involving the dead body of an heiress found in a haunted plantation house. To solve the mystery, Jim (Matt Passmore) must delve into a 150-year-old ghost story in "Yankee Dan."
10 p.m. on PBS
Detroit was built on industry, fair play, hard work and the American dream. In the past three decades, the city has seen its might crumble as oil prices spiked, the auto industry declined, and the middle class began to disappear. But the people of Detroit are not ready to give up on this place, where the spirit of loyalty, community and grit is not so easy to break. Their story is told in the new documentary "Detropia."
10 p.m. on A&E
Robert Taylor returns for a second season as laconic lawman Walt Longmire, who keeps the peace in the wild frontier of Wyoming's Absaroka County. In the season premiere, "Unquiet Mind," a prison transfer goes awry, leading Walt on an urgent pursuit of a serial killer and his fellow escapees. It all ends up in a hostage situation in the mountains as a storm approaches.
10 p.m. on National Geographic
American Heroes Fishing Challenge
In this new special, 15 recovering military men and women travel to Martha's Vineyard for a week of serious fishing and powerful healing as a community comes together to help those who have sacrificed so much.
10:01 p.m. on NBC
As Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) faces off with Monroe (David Lyons), Miles, Charlie, Nora and Aaron (Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Daniella Alonso, Zak Orth) make it inside the Tower. Miles and Monroe have a high-stakes confrontation in the new episode "Children of Men."
8 p.m. on ABC
Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition
The hit series returns for a third season as transformational specialist Chris Powell sets out to change the lives of twins who work together to shed weight, a married couple with the same goal and an amputee who wants to shed the pounds he gained after losing his limb.
8 p.m. on PBS
In Performance at the White House
In the new episode "Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song," the prolific singer-songwriter becomes the first woman to receive this prestigious award. Among those helping honor her are James Taylor, Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood and Emeli Sande.
9 p.m. on PBS
CONSTITUTION USA With Peter Sagal
In the final episode Peter Sagal travels to Iceland, where after the country's economic collapse, leaders decided to create a new constitution, looking to the U.S. Constitution for inspiration. This prompts Sagal to consider why our own founding document has lasted more than 225 years in "Built to Last?"
9 p.m. on TLC
Family S.O.S. With Jo Frost Project
TV's favorite Supernanny is back on U.S. television in an all- new series where she opens the door to families in crisis. No longer just helping correct the "naughty toddler" phase, Frost helps families with problems from teenage rebellion and school bullying to parents on the edge of divorce.
9 p.m. on OWN
The Haves and the Have Nots
From writer, director and producer Tyler Perry comes this new drama following the complicated dynamic between members of the wealthy Cryer family and the hired help who work in their mansion in Savannah, Ga. From the outside, the Cryers are the enviable face of success and wealth, but behind the veil, the family's dysfunction threatens to destroy its world of privilege.
10 p.m. on CBS
From the team behind "48 Hours" comes this new six-part series that looks at the larger-than-life personalities who make up the Kings County District Attorney's Office in New York, one of the largest in the country, where the staff juggles more than 1,000 cases per week.
10 p.m. on ABC
Body of Proof
Accompanied by Tommy (Mark Valley), Megan (Dana Delany) attends the exhumation of her father's body, which raises more questions about his death than it answers. Joan (Joanna Cassidy) suggests Megan look into his patient files in the season finale, "Daddy Issues."
10 p.m. on Travel Channel
As anyone who's tried to park in a big city -- or even a medium- sized one -- knows, finding a space can range from difficult to impossible. This new series showcases all kinds of innovations aimed at improving the parking experience, including a luxury condo tower where cars are brought right up to their owners' apartments and cars that fold in half to fit in tight spaces.
8 p.m. on CBS
The American Baking Competition
Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy with help from judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood, this new series features skilled American amateurs competing in baking challenges with one ultimately being crowned the winner.
8:30 p.m. on ABC
With Stitch's (Danielle Nicolet) community college graduation approaching, Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) makes it his mission to seek out Stitch and Darren's (Edi Gathegi) estranged mother. Darren, meanwhile, is trying not to be found -- by a stalker ex-girlfriend - - in the new episode "Waiting for Mrs. Bichette."
8:30 p.m. on ABC Family
The likable comedy about a 20-something man whose carefree life gets turned on its head with the arrival of an infant daughter he never knew he had returns for Season 2. Jean-Luc Bilodeau stars as Ben, who needs the help of his friends and his mom (Melissa Peterman) to make sure he can handle impromptu fatherhood.
9 p.m. on PBS
The new episode "Manhunt -- Boston Bombers" takes viewers through the pursuit of the two key suspects in last month's deadly Boston Marathon bombing. It focuses on the role modern technology played in the manhunt, including which high-tech innovations worked and which didn't.
9 p.m. on ABC Family
All those crazy dance videos you find online finally have a place to go with this new clip/competition show that features everything from rehearsed routines to Grandpa getting down after a wedding. Some dancers featured in the clips will get a shot at a $10,000 prize. Actress Melissa Peterman hosts.
9 p.m. on OWN
Love Thy Neighbor
Written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry, this new half- hour comedy is set at The Love Train Diner, a family-run restaurant where every day, the staff serves up good food, great laughs, valuable life lessons and a whole lot of love. Patrice Lovely, Kendra C. Johnson and Andre Hall star.
9:31 p.m. on ABC
How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)
Polly (Sarah Chalke) has second thoughts about pursuing a promotion at work in this new episode. When Natalie (Rachel Eggleston) subsequently reports that she's been cast as a hillside in the school play, Elaine and Max (Elizabeth Perkins, Brad Garrett) are concerned that their daughter and granddaughter aren't living up to their potential in "How to Get Involved."
10 p.m. on ABC
Nightline: Two Truths and a Lie
Cynthia McFadden and Bill Weir are the anchors of this new "Nightline" spinoff that focuses on consumer issues. Correspondents, including Dan Abrams, Gio Benitez, Juju Chang and Amy Robach, use their investigative skills to advise viewers on how to get the most for their money and avoid making expensive mistakes.
10 p.m. on USA
Anthony Michael Hall guest stars in the season finale as an eccentric police consultant who's brought into the police department to interview Shawn, Gus, Juliet and Lassiter (James Roday, Dule Hill, Maggie Lawson, Timothy Omundson). And by "interview" we mean "bother," as they're working on a very difficult case in "No Trout About It."
9 p.m. on ABC
Flynn and Vega (Kristin Lehman, Louis Ferreira) investigate the murder of a limousine driver at the hands of a customs officer. Their search for a motive leads them to a seductive waitress who apparently had the killer wrapped around her proverbial finger in the new episode "Pushover."
9 p.m. on Showtime
Movie: Take This Waltz
Actress Sarah Polley ("The Sweet Hereafter") wrote and directed this 2011 drama, casting Michelle Williams as a married writer who falls into an unexpected relationship with a neighboring artist (Luke Kirby). Ultimately, she can't avoid having to decide between faithfulness and the pursuit of her passion.
10 p.m. on TBS
Men at Work
Gibbs and Milo (James Lesure, Danny Masterson) engage in a date- off with a gorgeous woman (Jessica Szohr, "Gossip Girl"). Neal and Amy (Adam Busch, Meredith Hagner) have reason to regret letting Tyler use their apartment as a rendezvous site in the new episode "Long Distance Tyler."
10:01 p.m. on ABC
A bank robbery case has Andy (Missy Peregrym) working alongside Swarek (Ben Bass) on her first day back at 15 Division, forcing her to make peace with her past. Nick and Gail (Peter Mooney, Charlotte Sullivan) help an agitated woman who gives Nick some perspective on his personal life. Frank (Lyriq Bent) has big news for Noelle (Melanie Nicholls-King) in the new episode "Homecoming."
10:01 p.m. on NBC
As the BAU investigates a pair of murders in which the victims' faces were similarly mutilated, Will (Hugh Dancy) contaminates a crime scene, thinking he's the killer. An MRI reveals he has advanced encephalitis, but Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) coerces the doctor (John Benjamin Hickey) into lying to Will. Later, Will finds the doctor dead in the new episode "Buffet Froid."
9 p.m. on ABC
What Would You Do?
ABC's eye-opening hidden camera series returns for another season of revealing people's reactions to uncomfortable everyday scenarios and why they chose to intervene -- or chose not to. John Quinones hosts.
9 p.m. on WE
Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas
In this new series, five couples whose marriages are in trouble share a house with four counselors -- two of them a husband and wife -- who put them through a series of tough exercises aimed at finding the root causes of their marital problems.
9 p.m. on Showtime
Movie: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic
Filmmaker Marina Zenovich ("Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired") turns her lens on another frequently controversial figure in this new documentary. She tells the late comedian and actor's story with plentiful clips of his performances as well as reminiscences from those who knew him. Friends, ex-wives and girlfriends weigh in, along with such famous faces as Bob Newhart, Jesse Jackson, Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks and Lily Tomlin.
10 p.m. on Syfy
The series concludes with "Diamond of the Day: Part 2," in which Merlin (Colin Morgan) arrives in disguise to help Arthur (Bradley James) defeat Morgana's (Katie McGrath) forces. After Arthur is wounded, Merlin rescues him and reveals he's a wizard. Hostile at first, Arthur comes to realize how much he owes Merlin as they travel to the healing lake of Avalon -- with Morgana still in pursuit.
10 p.m. on WE
Pregnant & Dating
Women who want to be mothers but haven't found their Mr. Right to help make it happen are the subject of this new series. It profiles five professional women with high-powered careers who aren't going to let a little thing like pregnancy get in the way of their search for romance.
10 p.m. on National Geographic
Hitler's Secret Attack on America
For the first time, a group of scientists searches the ocean for a shipwreck many never knew existed. On Dec. 19, 1941, Hitler's navy attacked American ships. It was an assault so deadly the U.S. government hid it.
9:15 a.m. on Showtime
Movie: The Help
Surely one of the box-office "sleepers" of 2011, given its sustained success, this engrossing adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-seller finds a would-be author (Emma Stone) interviewing Southern housekeepers about their experiences. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are superb as two of the most prominent interviewees. The cast also includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, Aunjanue Ellis and Mary Steenburgen.
6:50 p.m. on Cinemax
Movie: Red Tails
The story of the Tuskegee Airmen gets fresh treatment in this George Lucas-produced 2012 drama. The script recounts how the young African-American pilots were called to serve as U.S. forces were depleted during World War II, and how they used the situation to prove what they were made of. Cuba Gooding Jr., Tristan Wilds ("90210"), and music's Method Man and Ne-Yo are in the cast.
8 p.m. on BET
The Notorious B.I.G., the rap music star who met an early and violent end, is recalled in director George Tillman Jr.'s ("Soul Food") 2009 biographical drama. Jamal Woolard plays the musician, and additional stars include Angela Bassett as B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace; Derek Luke as Sean "Puffy" Combs; and Anthony Mackie as rap rival Tupac Shakur.
8 p.m. on USA
Sean Penn received a best actor Oscar for his superb portrayal of Harvey Milk, the 1970s San Francisco city supervisor whose gay- rights activism made him a lightning rod for controversy. It also gave him a prime opponent in fellow politician Dan White (Josh Brolin), especially over the initiative known as Proposition 6. James Franco and Emile Hirsch also appear in this 2008 biodrama.
8 p.m. on HBO
Movie: Trouble With the Curve
Clint Eastwood had said "Gran Torino" would be his last project as an actor, but he returned to the screen in this well-performed 2012 drama as a baseball scout who's nearing the end of his career. In what's likely his last trip to find new talent for the game, he's reluctantly given a traveling companion: his long-estranged daughter (Amy Adams), who realizes it may be her last chance for common ground with her father. Justin Timberlake also stars.
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