(Many apologies, there will be no more puns.)
Baz Luhrmann has cast his Elvis and it will not be Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort or Miles Teller.
Instead, the man who beat out his more famous competitors to play Presley will be Austin Butler. Butler, 27, already has Elvis’s baby blues and elevated quiff.
Butler started out in his early teens with small roles on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows but has more recently appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie-comedy Dead Don’t Die and will appear in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
He made his Broadway debut last year opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh. It was his stage role that grabbed Luhrmann’s attention.
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “We searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also had the inner vulnerability of the artist.”
According to Luhrmann, the process to cast Presley involved “extensive screening testing and music and performance workshops”.
The movie will look at Presley’s life, music and the cultural landscape that embraced his style of celebrity, while focusing on the relationship between the superstar and his complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, over 20 years.
Parker will be portrayed by Tom Hanks.
Luhrmann co-wrote the screenplay with Craig Pearce. The pair have collaborated on the scripts for Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby.
Luhrmann’s wife, four-time Oscar winner Catherine Martin, will serve as production designer, costume designer and producer on the movie.
Filming on the movie, which does not have a name yet, will start early next year in Queensland.
A raft of actors have played Presley and characters who are barely veiled versions of The King on screen, including Harvey Keitel, Rick Peters, Kurt Russell, Jack White and Michael Shannon.
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