Austin Butler lands Elvis Presley role in Baz Luhrmann’s movie
Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) will play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s currently untitled project for Warner Bros., TheWrap has confirmed. Butler joins Tom Hanks, who will portray Presley’s manager.
Butler beat out Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), Miles Teller (Top Gun: Maverick), and Harry Styles (Dunkirk), who were all in contention for the lead role in the Elvis biopic. Butler recently made his Broadway debut in Eugene O’Neill’s 2019 The Iceman Cometh, playing opposite Denzel Washington, and was met with critical acclaim Other projects include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Dead Don’t Die, and several TV series including Arrow, The Shannara Chronicles, and Life Unexpected.
“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. 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,” said Luhrmann.
The movie will explore the life and music of Elvis through his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Parker discovered Presley when he was just an unknown and quickly moved in as his lone representation. Parker was responsible for various milestones, including Presley’s record deal with RCA and his successful acting career.
The currently untitled Elvis biopic will be co-written by Luhrmann, who will direct, and BAFTA winner Craig Pearce (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!). It was previously reported that the budget for the project is still being ironed out. Luhrmann hopes to get production started by next year.
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