Michael Douglas is drawing raves as he auditions for the real life role of cancer survivor.
The screen legend is planning his next starring role, attracting Oscar buzz, and from a picture of the star and his family at Disneyworld over Thanksgiving, looking his most vigorous in months. Just a month ago, supermarket tabloid photos showed Douglas after a grueling chemo regimen looking frail and much older than his 66 years. But the latest image offers hope that Douglas might be on the mend three months after announcing he had stage four cancer of the throat.
"He's very optimistic," Stephen Galloway, a reporter who interviewed Douglas for the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, told NBC. "He said the odds are 80 percent there will be a complete recovery. He sounds great, he looks great; everyone around him is very, very optimistic."
Douglas underwent three intensive chemotherapy sessions and another seven weeks of daily radiation treatment, which he told Galloway felt like he "had been through a hellhole." But the stricken star's father, legendary actor Kirk Douglas, told “Entertainment Tonight” that his son had regained his appetite and was feeling "feisty" again.
It's been a crazy year for Douglas. He's starred in two movies, "Solitary Man" and the long-awaited sequel to his Oscar performmance, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." His son Cameron Douglas began serving a five-year prison term for drug dealing in April. His ex-wife usuccessfully sued him for profits from the latest "Wall Street" movie.
Then came the cancer bombshell. He announced on "Late Show with David Letterman" that he had a malignant tumor on the base of his tongue and humbly asked the shaken host for a hug. In the weeks that followed, he kept a low profile as he endured painful treatment. But Douglas told The Hollywood Reporter the ordeal has brought him closer to his father, wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and his children.
"Cancer has shown me what family is," said Douglas, who regularly makes the 180-mile drive from New York to Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp, where Cameron Douglas is being held. "It showed me a love that I never knew really existed."
Over Thanksgiving, Douglas felt good enough to take Zeta-Jones and their children, 10-year-old son Dylan and 7-year-old daughter Carys to the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction at Universal Resorts in Orlando, and Disney World. After a year of highs and lows, Douglas even rode a roller coaster with his kids.
Douglas is preparing to tackle the role of Liberace in a biopic on the entertainer's life next year. As for his cancer, he'll find out how well the treatments have worked when he undergoes a medical scan in January.