“I loved it,” Damon says proudly of his country-bumpkin-goes-Hollywood progression. “More than any other movie I’ve been on, actually, the wardrobe and the hair and the makeup really made a difference — and the props, all the jewelry. You just would feel different in the morning. You would walk out with all this stuff on and it was really liberating. It was really fun to put on those costumes.”
“Because everybody knew what Liberace looked like, Michael had an entirely different task,” says Damon. “I had a little more leeway, but we still had to have four entirely different looks; I had four incredible wigs basically. There was the long blond wig that I start with — that was, like, ’77. And then I had that sort of Flock of Seagulls hair.”
Scott Thorson’s “blond bimbo” wardrobe even changed the way Damon felt about maintaining his movie star physique. “It actually got me excited to lose weight,” he laughs. “For the first time, instead of it being a drag, I remember thinking, ‘But I wanna get into that red shirt! It would fall so much better if I would just lose 5 more pounds!’”
THR: How much contact did you have with Scott Thorson?
Soderbergh: Jerry talked to him. Just a couple conversations to deal with sorting the rights out. When you’re telling a true story, there’s certain cases in which you really want people involved and certain cases where you feel like, “I don’t know that that’s going to help.” We had the book. I did talk to some people that worked with Lee, and that was helpful, mostly to ask them their impressions of Scott to see if they lined up to the impression that he gave of himself in the book or not. But in the same way that I didn’t want Matt [Damon meeting with the real] Mark Whitacre of The Informant!, I didn’t want him being pulled by who Scott Thorson is now, 30 years later. I wanted him to be able to feel free to interpret it as he could.
THR: How did Matt Damon get involved?
Soderbergh: He was in Spain doing his cameo in Che, and I gave him the book. I can only imagine what was going through his mind five years later before we started shooting. But Matt doesn’t have anything to protect. That’s not how he makes his decisions. He makes his decisions based on whether he’s engaged by the piece or not. If it turns out to be something that’s really gonna push him as a performer, even better. And Michael, he was just fearless. They both are. The movie just doesn’t work if they don’t both literally join hands and jump off the cliff. It’s intimate stuff, even if it was a guy and a girl. But for a lot of people it’ll be hard to see Jason Bourne on top of Gordon Gekko.
Q: What’s your role in “Behind the Candelabra”?
Reiser: I have a very small part. I play Matt Damon’s lawyer. I worked a couple of days. It was fun to get out of the house to go play with these guys. They are on top of their game: Michael Douglas, Steven Soderbergh, Dan Aykroyd. I developed a new appreciation for them. There’s a reason these guys are who they are. They are very gutsy roles. They are very different from who they are and who they’ve played.