November 30, 2010 / 6:51 PM / 8 years ago

Michael Douglas eyes Liberace after chemotherapy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cancer-stricken Michael Douglas is already looking toward his next film role playing iconic pianist Liberace after recently completing chemotherapy treatment for throat cancer.

The 66-year-old actor told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday that he’s just happy to be talking after a year of “adversity,” including discovering he had stage four throat cancer, his son Cameron being sentenced to prison on drug charges, and his ex-wife suing him for earnings from the “Wall Street” sequel.

“With my health and my son’s incarceration, my ex-wife and the lawsuit — to be able to sit here and talk to you, I’m so happy,” he told the publication.

Douglas said he won’t learn until January whether the tumor in his throat has been eliminated, but described his chemotherapy as a “hellhole.” Nevertheless, it brought him closer to his 93 year-old father, actor Kirk Douglas, with whom he once fought.

“He came over every day. He was great,” Douglas said.

Now, he is already preparing for his title role in the Steven Soderbergh-directed Liberace biopic, which is expected to start shooting in May or June, and will require Douglas to undergo special prosthetic work as well as musical training.

“I’ve got a bunch of tapes of performances,” Douglas told the publication. “I’m thinking; I’m a blank slate. Everything shows me he was a lovely man; I just want to reconfirm that.”

Of the support from his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, he said: “I’m one of those people who, when they’re sick, like to curl up and remove myself. I don’t like a lot of people around. There is nothing you can do to help. Catherine has been understanding, fortunately.”

And he said he is still coming to terms with cancer.

“I haven’t really digested it yet, truth be told,” he said. “As I looked through the stats, I didn’t think of this as life and death; I just saw it as an illness to get over. So I didn’t dig into the bottom of my soul to see what I could see.”

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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