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Matt Damon News Column
Cannes reviews and press
  • Following the first media screening of Behind the Candelabra at Cannes, the first official reviews have been released. Glowingly positive reviews are at the Variety, Hollywood Reporter, the Daily Telegraph (UK), HitFix and the New York Post.

    Hollywood Reporter
    Behind the Candelabra is fabulous -- so much so that, were it not for the fact that it reveals everything about his private life that he worked so hard to conceal, Liberace himself might well have loved it. The big screen’s loss is HBO’s gain in what is billed as Steven Soderbergh’s farewell to the cinema, at least for the time being. Superbly scripted, brilliantly directed, smart but never smarmy and led by a lead performance by Michael Douglas so good you often forget you’re watching an actor rather than the famous character he’s playing, this is a rarity, a fully realized biographical drama shot through with real feeling and an abundance of sly humor. It’s a winner all around.

    Historically speaking, Thorson was just 16 when he met Liberace. Damon convincingly plays the pianist’s young companion from his late teens to mid-20s in the film. Although the actor undeniably delivers an astonishing performance — perhaps the most demanding of his career given the role’s emotional upheaval and physical transformation— the casting represents an opportunity missed, considering the role could potentially have launched a young unknown, the way “Boogie Nights” did the film career of Mark Wahlberg.

    Sasha Stone ‏@AwardsDaily
    As expected Mixhael Doiglas' best ever work. Matt Damon on Ripley level - just great. #cannes2013

    Sasha Stone ‏@AwardsDaily
    More applause for Behind the Candelabra than any screening I've seen. #cannes2013

    Catherine Bray ‏@catherinebray
    Behind The Candelabra is masterclass storytelling. Just genius. Loved it unreservedly. Bravo all involved. A+

    David Poland ‏@DavidPoland
    Behind The Candelabra is wonderful. The scale is not wrong for HBO, even if studios don’t support cinema over movies enough.

    Guy Lodge ‏@GuyLodge3m
    Alternately riotous and raw, Soderbergh's BEHIND THE CANDELABRA is the best film in Competition so far.

    erickohn ‏@erickohn 1h
    CANDELABRA is as fun and well-crafted as expected, but in my estimation the surprise is that it's Damon who does his best acting in years.

    From the Guardian's video review - "It takes a wild tale and it makes it human. It glitters within and it ought to win everything."

    Anne Thompson at Indiewire:
    But by the end, both Douglas and Damon are heartbreaking, and a dowdy Debbie Reynolds resonates as Liberace's clinging, angry, neglected mother. "Everyone wants a piece of me," Liberace complains. "I give and give and give."

    There's an undertow to the film's message, Soderbergh has admitted. In another era, Liberace could have married, like Elton John. And in another decade, this movie would be up for Oscars, not Emmys.

  • First photos from the photo call and press conference are at Citizen Cannes, CIAK magazine, Loft Cinema, Yahoo, here and Getty.

  • 18 comments or Leave a comment
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 21st, 2013 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)

    Press conference tweets

    Peter Debruge ‏@AskDebruge 1m
    Matt Damon on his Brazilian tan-line @ BEHIND THE CANDELABRA presser: "You're all welcome to look, but you can't un-ring that bell." #Cannes

    Caspar Salmon ‏@eageryoungman1m
    Matt Damon sending the whole press room into fits of laughter - some people almost in tears near me. I love him. #Cannes2013

    anna robertson ‏@cinecatic 1m
    Matt Damon after the press conference for 'Behind the Candelabra' #mattdamon #cannes2013http://instagram.com/p/ZkfQ2WlTcu/

    A collection of reviews and tweets

    Audio of the press conference

    Edited at 2013-05-21 12:07 pm (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 21st, 2013 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Press conference tweets

    Video of Matt and Michael signing autographs after the photocall:



    More photos:

    Matt's GMA interview:

    Matt takes a photo of the crowd before the press conference for Alexia (in video):

    Lengthy EW review:


    The Hollywood executives who turned down the film should be ashamed of themselves (didn’t “Brokeback Mountain” already break this barrier?), and will soon feel foolish for missing out on two performances that would surely have been remembered come awards season – and are now frontrunners for a potential joint Best Actor prize at Cannes.

    Damon, meanwhile, has the less flashy role, but the character cuts deeper. Playing a sweet-natured young stud who is initially self-conscious about starting a relationship with an older man (“I’m bisexual”, he warns), the actor gradually reveals layers of tenderness, need, and panic. You sense the agonising pull of dependence in his portrayal of Thorson, and when Liberace’s eyes start wandering toward newer flesh, Damon makes you feel the sting of betrayal.

    One of the least fussy, most versatile and effortlessly convincing American actors working today, Damon has never won a major acting prize. Could Spielberg (who directed the actor in “Saving Private Ryan”) and his jury remedy that?

    Edited at 2013-05-21 02:47 pm (UTC)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 21st, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Red carpet feed

    Only photo so far of Matt and Lucy at the premiere:

    cinemacanalplus ‏@cinemacanalplus 1m
    #MattDamon http://twitpic.com/cs8628 a #cannes2013 pour #MaVieAvecLiberace

    Edited at 2013-05-21 05:52 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    #PHOTO: US actor Matt Damon takes a photo with his wife Luciana Barroso after "Behind the Candelabra" #Cannes2013 pic.twitter.com/GUze7RDbXi

    Another pic of matt and Lucy. They will probably start trickling out soon.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    there are a couple of pictures on getty of Lucy and i think her dress looks lovely
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 21st, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    PopSugar has updated with photos of Lucy:


    BBC interview with Michael and Matt:


    Edited at 2013-05-21 10:22 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    News.com has several pics of matt and Lucy. Looks like all of them are from after the screening.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    Lucy looks great. All that sparkle makes me wonder if the dress is Naeem Khan.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 21st, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    Very likely to be a Naeem Khan dress and she looks great. Gold was the color of the night.

    More photos now up at Getty of Matt and Lucy leaving the premiere - the Chopard after-party is next.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 22nd, 2013 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    Should we expect pics from the after party or will that be private?
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 22nd, 2013 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    Nothing so far - I'm not sure if they went. There are formal photos at the after-party red carpet (available on Getty), and Michael and Jerry are there but no sign of Matt and Lucy.

    A new Donna Freydkin interview at USA Today with Michael and Matt:

    Damon, 42, and Douglas, 68, knew each other in passing, but weren't close at that point. "I produced a picture in 1996, The Rainmaker, and you were so good. We knew each other off and on," says Douglas.

    Which means, clarifies Damon, that Douglas was responsible for one of his breakout films, since without his approval, Damon would not have been cast in the big-ticket production. Later on, both collaborated on and off with Soderbergh. "We were both in Steven's stable of actors. I'd hear stories of Michael. Steven's stories are always about how someone works," says Damon.

    Not so, quips Damon. "I tried to recast it," says Damon. "I think Clooney was available. Or Don Cheadle. He can do anything."

    "From my end, looking at Matt, he's probably the best listener of an actor I know, and listening is a lost art form. There was the right balance. He wasn't a hustler. He was a good-looking young guy with a sweetness about him. All the elements were right," says Douglas.

    Edited at 2013-05-22 02:31 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 22nd, 2013 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Red carpet feed

    Just an FYI news.com is still posting new pics. There's one that shows the back of Lucy's dress. Didn't think I would like it because of the clear panels but it really is a lovely dress.

    They don't appear to be at the afterparty. Unless they just didn't do the red carpet.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Reviews, etc

    Thanks so much for posting all this! I still haven't gotten through all of it - a happy abundance. Great reviews, and there are even some perceptive reviewers that mention Matt as the standout. A bit suprising since Douglas has the hammy part.

    It'll be just like the Talented Mr Ripley. Everyone raved about Jude Law and it was years, really, before people gave Matt's performance the great respect it deserved. But he pushes this himself - in the ABC interview this morning he talked about what a priviledge it was to watch Douglas give such a standout performance. Reporters take that as a cue to give Douglas the accolades. Oh, Matt, stop being so humble!!!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Video of premiere

    Some footage from the red carpet. Just scroll down. No Lucy.

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: May 22nd, 2013 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Video of premiere

    A good video interview with Matt, where he talks about meeting Harvey Weinstein and understanding the reality of why studios didn't pick up the film:

    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 22nd, 2013 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Video of premiere

    Extra interview

    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 25th, 2013 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)


    Good morning hot Matt I feel like 6kissin9 you like in that picture behind.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: May 25th, 2013 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)

    New pic

    18 comments or Leave a comment