Just ask director Steven Soderbergh, the man behind HBO's "Behind the Candelabra." The Liberace-themed drama stole the show at the 2013 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, taking home eight Emmys (and dominating as the most awarded program of the evening) in the categories of casting, art direction, picture editing, sound mixing, hairstyling, makeup, costumes, and cinematography.
And there's still a long road of Emmy gold to travel, since the buzzy biopic is nominated in all the top categories for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.
"Yahoo at the Awards" recently caught up with Soderbergh to talk about another long road: the road to get the movie made.
"Thirteen years," he said. "It took a long time, and sometimes that can be an indication that you shouldn't be making the movie, and sometimes that's an indication that you needed all of that time to prepare. And I think that was kind of the case here. By the time we started shooting, I was really glad I had to wait, and I think Michael and Matt were, too."
Soderbergh said he first approached Michael Douglas about playing the flamboyant piano virtuoso way back in 2000 on the set of the crime drama film "Traffic."
"I still don't know why — I turned to him one day and said, 'Have you ever thought about playing Liberace?'" Soderbergh recalled. "I think he thought I was just being weird. But he had met him and said, 'Yeah, I'd love to.'"
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Fast-forward seven years later, when Soderbergh said he first approached Matt Damon about playing Liberace's lover in the pending project: "I gave him this book and said, 'I want you to play Scott Thorson. Michael's playing Liberace,'" he said. Three days later, Damon emailed him and said he was in.
"And then we had to wait," Soderbergh said. "So, they stuck in there."
But why such a waiting game for a project headlined by a trio of A-listers? Earlier this year, Soderbergh told The Wrap: "Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town. We needed $5 million. Nobody would do it. They said it was too gay. Everybody. This was after 'Brokeback Mountain,' by the way. Which is not as funny as this movie. I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us."
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Of course, the movie turned out to be one of HBO's biggest "gets" yet, so it looks as if 13 was the lucky number of years to wait for the pay television network.
As far as rumors that Soderbergh plans to retire now that "Behind the Candelabra" is behind him, he admitted that it felt as though the project was "closing a loop," but he clarified the details: "Movies, yeah," he said. "But I'm about to start a 10-hour TV thing."
Once a director, always a director.
The Primetime Emmys air Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on CBS.