Not Harry Styles or Ansel Elgort, director Baz Luhrmann has found his Elvis in Austin Butler! The untitled drama will cover the seminal legend’s growth from dirt poor singer to global icon, seen through the prism of his complex relationship over two decades with manager Colonel Tom Parker which will be played by Tom Hanks.
The film will shoot early next year in Queensland, Australia, with Warner Bros Pictures distributing worldwide. The film will trace Presley’s elevation to a level of stardom and celebrity matched only by The Beatles, set against an evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. This was a hotly contested role. Austin filmed a test for the director as did Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles. It was no easy choice and Baz took his time.
Elvis A. Presley / Austin Butler pic.twitter.com/Rtl1P4nv9o
— Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann) July 15, 2019
Baz has chosen an actor who has credit and chops, and who is ready for a major jump up. Austin made his Broadway debut in 2018 in the George C. Wolfe-directed adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, drawing strong reviews for his role of 'lost boy' Don Parritt. He will be seen later this month opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” said the director in a statement. “Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.
Baz will direct from the current screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce. Luhrmann will also produce, alongside multiple-Oscar winner Catherine Martin, his collaborator on The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge who will serve as production designer and costume designer, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss. Andrew Mittman will executive produce. The film will be made in Queensland with the support of the Queensland Government, Screen Queensland and the Australian Government’s Producer Offset program.
(Source: Deadline and Twitter)