After numerous screen tests, Austin Butler has been tapped to play Elvis Presley in Luhrmann’s next feature film for Warner Bros. The studio tested with a handful of actors in full hair and make-up at the end of June to see who would join Tom Hanks, who is playing Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker.
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“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.”
Luhrmann also co-wrote the script with Craig Pearce. The movie covers the relationship between the veteran manager and the young singer, who came from dirt-poor origins to become an iconic star who changed the course of music. The project marks Luhrmann’s first film since his adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He most recently worked on the Netflix series “The Get Down.”
The plan is to shoot at the top of 2020 to accommodate Hanks’ schedule, which includes the upcoming Paul Greengrass movie “News of the World,” which shoots in the fall.
Butler’s recent credits include Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die.” On the small screen, he has starred on the CW’s “The Carrie Diaries,” “Switched at Birth” and “Zoey 101.”
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