Candelabra brings you back to more lighthearted territory. At least it looks like a lot of fun—Michael and Matt making out, for instance.
Soderbergh: It was really fun. The world of it was just bananas. It was great to see Michael and Matt jump off the cliff together. Nobody can accuse them of being shy. They just went for it. It’s pretty gay.
Can Douglas sing?
He can sing as well as Liberace, who sort of talked-sang like Rex Harrison.
How did Matt get involved?
He came to do a day of work on Che. I gave him the book Behind the Cabdelabra, by Scott Thorson, and said, See if you’re interested in playing Scott. Matt said yes, but when Michael had a little gathering at his house for a brunch—it was literally the day before shooting started—I could sense Matt was anxious. He said, I’m not sure where we’re going with this guy. I told him to just show up to work the next day, get into his outfit, and put the hair on. It was one of those things where there wasn’t anything to say—I didn’t know what string of words to put together to explain it to him. It was about the physicality of just being there. From that point it would be obvious what had to be done. And it was. By the second day he said he felt good, and by the end of the first week he was totally dialed in.
Are you disappointed that it’s not being released in theaters?
Not at all. After Warner Bros. put it in turnaround, we showed it to every studio in town. No one wanted it, even though we only needed $5 million.
That seems inconceivable—no, stupid.
It was crazy. But HBO was immediately into it, and the experience was great from beginning to end.
Are you entirely satisfied with any of your films?
Out of Sight. It’s less flawed than the others. Or The Informant! As I look at those two, I feel like I don’t know what else I would do.