From Oscar-nominated visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Oscar winner Tom Hanks.
Baz Luhrmann has spent nearly three years making a Hollywood film about Elvis Presley. From the Gold Coast to Graceland, the production has successfully landed after repeated delays; including leading cast member Tom Hanks contracting covid. Warner Bros. has backed the much-anticipated film, which is set to be released in theatres on June 23. It’s also expected to make a splash at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Elvis marks Luhrmann’s first film since his adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The official Elvis trailer is out now.
Although Luhrmann was a fan of The King as a child, the director of Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby wanted to make a film about him. Luhrmann tells Sydney Morning Herald,
“The great storytellers like Shakespeare, they didn’t really do biographies… They used a life as a canvas to explore a larger idea…”
Elvis explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
The narrative delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker over a 20-year period, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of America’s changing cultural landscape and loss of innocence.
He Was My Destiny
In the trailer, Hanks’ Parker narrates,
“There are some who make me out to be the villain of this here story”
Parker’s attention is drawn to the young singer’s talent as Butler’s Elvis enters the scene and delivers a rousing performance. “Are you born with destiny? Or does it just come knocking at your door?” Parker says. “At that moment I watched that skinny boy transform into a superhero. He was my destiny.”
Parker tells a young Presley that “I wish to promote you, Mr. Presley. Are you ready to fly?” Smiling, Presley says,
“I’m ready, ready to fly.”
As one of Elvis Presley’s most significant influences, Priscilla Presley (played by Aussie actress Olivia DeJonge), is central to his journey to stardom. Very few love stories are as iconic as Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s.
To date, DeJonge’s reel includes M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Visit,” “The Sisterhood of Night,” “Better Watch Out” and “Stray Dolls.”
Throughout Presley’s soaring career, he is dogged by controversy in 1950’s America for his performance style and outrageous dance moves.
“Some people want to put me in jail because of the way I was moving,”
Presley muses. “I can’t sing, I can’t move.”
Throughout the trailer, Presley desperately tries to reconnect with his gospel roots. He says, “I’m almost 40 years old, and no one will remember me. I need to rediscover my true self. This could all be over in a heartbeat.”
A Canvas to Explore America
Luhrmann’s “Elvis” tells audiences a story about America during the emerging civil rights movement. Per Sydney Morning Herald, “The life of Elvis Presley could not be a better canvas in which to explore America in the ’50s, the ′60s and the ’70s,” he said. “That 42 years [until his death in 1977] is three great lives put into a short period of time.”
During a press event earlier this month, Luhrmann states that he was inspired to make a film about Elvis Presley due to “musical icons in my life that were so important to me.”
Luhrmann further explains that, “I was an Elvis fan but I don’t know that that fan-hood was in any way the reason I wanted to do Elvis,” the filmmaker said. “But the truth is that in this modern era the life of Elvis couldn’t be a better canvas to explore America in the 50s and 60s. That’s what drew me in, that and a guy named Col. Tom Parker.”
Elvis hits cinemas on June 23. Until then, check out the official trailer, below:
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