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Matt Damon’s Brazilian Tan Line & 9 Other Highlights From Cannes 'Behind The Candelabra' Press Conference

The Playlist By Jessica Kiang | The Playlist May 21, 2013 at 2:59PM

It was hard to envisage as positive a Cannes response to a U.S. competition film as that which greeted the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” the other day, but if such a thing is possible, it may well have happened today, for Steven Soderbergh’s wonderful Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” (our review here). Immediately after the press screening stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, writer Richard LaGravanese, Producer Jerry Weintraub and director Steven Soderbergh spoke to press, turning up some choice anecdotes and opinions in the process. Here are our 10 favorite moments.
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Soderbergh, Cannes, 2013
6. Douglas and Damon talk about their frequent kissing and sex scenes
Douglas: … The security of having worked with Steven before and knowing Matt, it was just like, “you’ve read the script, let’s get it on! What flavor lip balm would you like me to wear?” And it was a gas.

"I did warn the crew about [my spray-tanned butt]. I said 'Listen this is not something you can un-see. You’re all welcome to look but you can’t un-ring that bell."
Damon: In terms of being in bed with Michael Douglas I now have things in common with Sharon Stone and Glenn Close, Demi Moore … we can all go out trade stories…No, you know those scenes are highly technical and really comes down to choreography. I think the stuff that was actually more difficult and that we had to put more thought in to was the way two people are in a room together when they’re in a long-term relationship, and they’re deeply intimate or deeply connected… and those things for me were way more intimate.

7. Soderbergh talks about the film’s relevance to the gay marriage debate.
Soderbergh: Coincidentally we’re connected at this moment to a cultural sequence of events that seems timely and relevant. But I always try to think, 50 years from now what are we going to think of our attitudes now? 50 years ago we didn’t have the civil rights act. I’m hoping we’ll look back and wonder why this was even a debate.

But really [that issue] that was not on my mind when I was making the film, or for the 13 years that we were contemplating it. We were just focused on the relationship and making it as believable as possible.

Behind The Candelabra, Soderbergh Douglas

8. Damon’s Brazilian Spray Tan Story
Soderbergh: When Matt told me the story of his Brazilian spray tan, I just felt that the world really needed to see this and so I was looking for opportunities…Give the people what they want and they’ll show up.

Damon: ...I explained to him in this parking lot in West Hollywood about this Brazilian tan line that I had to get to make some of the outfits not show a tan line. I said “It’s the wrongest thing you’ve ever seen, what if by the end of that scene I drop the robe and get into bed and you see the brazilian tan line. And Steven just looked at me for a long and then goes ”Oh, I know where to put the camera.” I’m really proud of that scene...I did warn the crew though I said “Listen this is not something you can un-see. You’re all welcome to look but you can’t un-ring that bell, so I’m just warning you it will be seared into your memory.”

9. Soderbergh on the strength of current U.S. Television
Soderbergh: There has been a gradual migration of an audience who likes a certain kind of material to television.There’s a lot of great TV being made in the States right now… In terms of cultural real estate, TV is taking control of the conversation that used to be the exclusive domain of the movies. Whether this is a cyclical or secular change I don’t know, but I think it’s a second golden age of TV in the States right now. Binging is the new black - you saw what happened with “House of Cards.” It’s an interesting new model if you’re someone who likes your stories to go narrow and deep, it’s a novel on screen, so I think it’s exciting.

10. Soderbergh talking about taking a break and the full-circle vibe to his 24 year career.
Soderbergh: ..as far as this being my swansong, I don’t know. It was 24 years ago, we were here with ‘Sex, Lies,’ I had hair at that point… I am absolutely taking a break -- I don’t know how extended it’s gonna be. I can’t say that if this were the last movie I made I’d be unhappy, I’m really, really proud of the film.

Soderbergh, Douglas, Cannes, 2013

I feel like there’s a connection on the one hand to my first film, because at the end of the day it’s really about two people in a room, and that’s what my first film was about. And at the same time stylistically it’s a progression. If you’d flashed me forward and shown me this film I’d have been able to recognize there was a lot of experience that resulted in a kind of simplicity and directness in the filmmaking that I think would have made me very happy. It’s been a nice run.

“Behind the Candelabra” will show stateside on HBO this Sunday, May 26th, and will roll out theatrically abroad thereafter. Which sadly means that under current rules, it’s not eligible for the 2014 Oscars, at which we can’t help but feel it would ride high, especially for Douglas.


This article is related to: Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Cannes Film Festival, Behind the Candelabra


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