Baz Luhrmann has found his king of rock ‘n’ roll.
Deadline is reporting that Luhrmann has chosen Austin Butler to play Elvis Presley in his untitled-biopic for Warner Bros. The film will chronicle the 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. The role of Parker will be played by Tom Hanks and Warner Bros will distribute worldwide.
“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,” Luhrmann said in a statement to Deadline. “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.”
This role was not an easy one to attain. Butler filmed a test for Luhrmann as did Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles. Butler has created quite the stock profile in recent years. He made his Broadway debut in 2018 alongside Denzel Washington in the George C. Wolfe-directed adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, earning rave reviews for his role of “lost boy” Don Parritt. He will next be seen in Quentin Taratino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and recently starred in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die.
Luhrmann will helm the film from the current screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce. Luhrmann will produce, alongside multiple-Oscar winner Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss. Andrew Mittman will executive produce. The film will be made in Queensland Australia.