Michael Douglas' CANDELABRA Piano Playing Secrets Revealed
We knew he was a great actor, but was that really Michael Douglas tickling the ivories on HBO's new Liberace biopic BEHIND THE CANDELABRA? According to an interview in The Las Vegas Sun , the true musician was Philip Fortenberry, a Juilliard-trained Liberace virtuoso who served as the in-house entertainer at the recently closed Liberace Museum in Las Vegas.
"This is a very high honor," Fortenberry revealed to the Sun. "To have studied Liberace's repertoire, and played a lot of the same music and had the type of training I've had, it is just an honor to be chosen to do this."
Fortenberry became involved in the project when Vegas music director Jack Gaughan learned that director Steven Soderbergh was looking for someone who could play the piano like Liberace. "He explained to me that they were looking for a hand double for Michael Douglas and asked me to literally take pictures of my hands, and then take video of my hands at the piano, because Michael Douglas doesn't play the piano," Fortenberry told the Sun. He also shared that the candidate had to be able to fit into the same costumes worn by Douglas in the made-for-TV film.
He exlained that during the filming, "I would be seated at the piano, then they would film Michael Douglas doing a number, then me. We would do a couple of different takes so they could take my head off my body and put his on. It was all sort of eerie, actually."
HBO premiered the original film Behind the Candelabra on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 9 pm. The film stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson.
Executive produced by Weintraub and produced by Gregory Jacobs ("Contagion," "The Informant!") and Susan Ekins ("Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen," "The Karate Kid" series), Behind the Candelabra takes a behind-the-scenes look at the tempestuous relationship between legendary entertainer Liberace and Scott Thorson, his younger live-in lover. Directed by Soderbergh from a script by Oscar(R) nominee Richard LaGravenese("Water for Elephants," "The Fisher King"), the film stars Douglas as Liberace and Damon as Thorson.