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Michael Douglas, right, as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson in a scene from Behind the Candalabra. Picture: Claudette Barius

Michael Douglas forced director Steven Soderbergh to cut gay porn scenes from the new Liberace biopic because the actor wanted to be able to show the film to his young kids without having to explain the explicit shots.

The actor portrays the flamboyant pianist in Behind the Candelabra and, although he had no problem filming intimate scenes with his co-star Matt Damon, who plays Liberace's young lover Scott Thorson, Douglas refused to allow footage of gay porn to grace TV screens in the movie.

"Liberace loved sex and I didn't have a problem with that. But, at one point, Steven Soderbergh wanted to show Lee (Liberace) watching a gay porno," Douglas told New York Magazine of making the movie, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

"I said, 'I'd like my kids to see this R-rated movie but I don't want to show them a 14-inch d...'."

"It was the only thing I objected to so we cut to different parts of the apartment during the porno."

Douglas, who is father to son Dylan, 12, and 10-year-old daughter Carys with his second wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, also revealed to the magazine that it took doctors nine months to figure out that a walnut-sized lump at the back of his tongue was throat cancer.

"I knew something was wrong," he said. "My tooth was really sore and I thought I had an infection," he said.

But the specialists he consulted gave him antibiotics before finally, in 2010, a doctor in Montreal figured out that it was a tumour.

"Two days later, after the biopsy, the doctor called and said I had to come in," he said. "He told it me it was stage-four cancer.

"And that was that. After complaining for nine months and them not finding anything, and then they told me I was stage four.

"That was a big day."