People are loving Michael Douglas's portrayal of Liberace in Behind the Candelabra (along with Matt Damon's buns of steel), the film also netted HBO the biggest audience for an original movie on the network since 2004, with Nielsen estimating 2.4 million viewers (and an additional 1.1 for the repeat later that same evening). And that doesn't even count in all the folks who have it DVR'd or are watching it on HBOGo.
Is this just another milestone for straight actors playing gay characters? When asked whether he thinks that an openly gay actor playing a straight male character would still have problems with audiences, Douglas answered that knows actors who still feel that way in an interview with ShortList after the film screened at Cannes. "Without naming names, I certainly think there are a couple of people out there who have not come out in the spirit of protecting their careers and livelihoods. It’s probably a little bit more difficult going that way. I think that’s true."
He also went on to say that he considers Liberace "a totally Alpha Male character. He may be gay, but he’s an Alpha Male on top of his game. The Alpha characters… I don’t know. The characters that were the most fun to play were the ones that were ambivalent, darkly comic, unpredictable."