After the news last week that Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the decision has been made to postpone production on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic. Filming was due to begin in Australia, where Hanks and Wilson are continuing to self isolate as they recover from the virus.
The decision was announced via a tweet from Luhrmann, who said although production won’t be going ahead for the moment, “we are not taking our sets down, simply locking up the creative space over the next few days.” The full statement from Luhrmann can be found below.
— Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann) March 20, 2020
Austin Butler is set to play the King of Rock and Roll in the film, while Hanks plays his manager Tom Parker. The film will explore the working relationship between the pair and showcase Elvis’ rise to fame as a global icon. British actor Rufus Sewell is also part of the cast, playing Elvis’ father Vernon Presley.
The film, which just completed the pre-production phase, is set to be the sixth directed feature from Luhrmann, whose most successful titles include “Romeo + Juliet,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Moulin Rouge,” the latter of which earnt a Best Picture nomination with the Academy. He was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay with BAFTA for his first feature “Strictly Ballroom” while also directing the Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman historical epic “Australia.”
The postponement of “Elvis” was expected given not only the Hanks diagnosis last week, but also the trend across the film and television industry in the last week. Dozens of productions globally have been shut down, including most recently the filming on James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels. Film festivals are continuing to be cancelled or postponed, with Cannes announcing that they will no longer be going ahead as scheduled in May.
What are you thoughts on the decision to delay production? Let us know in the comments below!