Based on Thorson's 1988 memoir of the same name, Candelabra begins in 1977, when Liberace (or "Lee," as his friends called him) is reigning in Vegas as the world's favorite pianist-comedian-showman. After a chance encounter, he seduces Thorson, a naive 18-year-old foster kid, into his more-is-more world of private jets and be-thonged houseboys. The story ends in 1987, the Liberace dies of AIDS, finally confirmed the rumors of his secret life and leaving Thorson--whom he'd dumped five years earlier--with practically nothing but a drug addiction and a surgically altered face remodeled in Lee's own image.
The article goes on to quote the producer that
his movie was dismissed by every major studio as "too gay" before HBO eventually snapped it up. "None of us could understand [the rejection]. It just seemed baffling to me."Too gay? Can a movie be "too gay" today? Or was it just too honest? A foster kid. He's 18. And he gets dumped at 23 (which means he is starting to look like an adult). Perhaps if Liberace had been a closeted Republican there would have been interest.
I don't mean that every homosexual is like Liberace. But Liberace played a stereotype on stage and in private life that used to be widely regarded as just fabulous. Stereotypes like this don't just get invented.