Behind the Candelabra producer Jerry Weintraub says film will ‘change’ Hollywood

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The executive producer of Behind the Candelabra, the new film about iconic gay pianist Liberace, which stars Michael Douglas as the lead character, says the movie “is going to change the film business in America”.

In an interview with Jemm One radio on Wednesday, Jerry Weintraub, who previously produced Ocean’s Eleven, was quizzed by presenters Neil Sexton and Debbie Ryan on the difficulty in getting major Hollywood support for Behind the Candelabra.

In January, the film’s Oscar winning director, Steven Soderburgh, said it was turned down by the big studios for being “too gay.”

Jerry Weintraub told Jemm One: “They didn’t believe in it. Great! So HBO did and HBO, in fact, gave us a much larger audience than we could ever get in the theatres and we were ecstatic about it.”

He continued: “It’s my opinion that this is going to change the film business in America and you’re going to see a lot more things done this way. We had three and a half million homes just on Sunday night (when the film was broadcast on HBO in America) and that’s without the TEVO-ing. When we’re finished, God knows how many millions of people will see this film and that’s what we wanted. That’s why we made it.”

When asked if the film would changes attitudes on homosexuality, Weintraub said: “I think that’s changing. Fifty eight percent of the people in America are for gay marriage now and it should be, in my opinion, legal. There’s nothing wrong with it. People should love who they love and they should be able to walk down the street with who they want to walk down the street with and hold hands with who they want to hold hands with.”

Asked if Hollywood was homophobic, Weintraub replied: “I don’t think they wanted to keep anything in the closet. I don’t think it’s about that. There are plenty of homosexuals in Hollywood, plenty of homosexuals in the studios etc etc. I think it had to do with the fact that they couldn’t see making a lot of money with the film. They couldn’t realise it. It didn’t click for them. People have their own opinions about things and I respect them and I couldn’t care less. I don’t care what the studios say, I never did. I make things that I want to make.”

When it came to discussing potential accolades for the film, he concluded: “I don’t care about the Oscars and as far as the other awards are concerned, I promise you, I have a lot of awards. I’ve got a warehouse full of awards. We didn’t make this film to get awards. It’s a great film and that’s what we care about. We care about touching people and we touched a lot of people with this film. I’ve watched the audiences and they go crazy”