Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley Biopic Casts Austin Butler in Lead Role

It was down to a group that included Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort.

Baz Luhrmann’s long-planned Elvis Presley biopic has cast its star. Set to play Elvis, in a picture that will also star Tom Hanks as the singer’s manager,  is Austin Butler. Warner Bros. has officially announced the casting of the 27-year-old actor, whose credits include Aliens in the Attic, The Carrie Diaries, Switched at Birth, Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, and Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

Butler also garnered praise for his Broadway performance in The Iceman Cometh, a turn that Luhrmann says got his attention and placed the actor on a path to screen tests and various workshops to see if he could play the music superstar.

“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.”

According to the press release, the still-untitled film will be exploring “the life and music of Presley, through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker. […] The story will delve into their complex dynamic spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.”

Luhrmann wrote the script with longtime collaborator Craig Pearce (Romeo +Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby, The Power of the Dark Crystal). The film will begin principal photography in Queensland early next year.

Photo by Justin Ridler – © 2013 Bazmark Film III Pty Limited


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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows.