Director Baz Luhrmann has found his young King of Rock n’ Roll in Austin Butler. Variety reported on Monday the actor has landed the leading role in Luhrmann’s forthcoming Elvis Presley biopic. The shortlist of actors previously vying for the role included Harry Styles (“Dunkirk”), Miles Teller (“Whiplash”), Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver”) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”). The drama will follow musical legend in his early years. It also stars Tom Hanks in the role of Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker.
Luhrmann’s statement on the casting:
“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.
“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.”
Butler’s past work include starring on the Nickelodeon series “Zoey 101,” Warner Bros’ “The Carrie Diaries,” and in the films “Aliens in the Attic” and “The Bling Ring.” His recent work includes a part in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die,” and Quentin Tarantino’s soon to be released, “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.” The biopic is Luhrmann’s first feature work since directing 2013’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He also directed the best picture nominated “Moulin Rouge,” among other works such as “Australia” and “Romeo + Juliet.”
After the internet had a fantasy casting frenzy, Luhrmann rests on Butler’s abilities now as production rolls on. The still untitled Elvis Presley biopic is being produced by Luhrmann’s own Bazmark Films. The plan is set for shooting to begin in early 2020, with Craig Pearce and Sam Bromell co-writing the story with Luhrmann.