Austin Butler to Play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann Biopic
By Desiree Murphy
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Looks like Austin Butler is going to be putting on his blue suede shoes!
The 27-year-old actor has landed the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming biopic about the King of Rock, Warner Bros. Pictures announced on Monday.
"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," the statement continued.
Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, also released a statement, which read, "We feel blessed to have a visionary like Baz Luhrmann to tell this story."
"Elvis lived a life bigger than anyone, and no one can tell this story better than he," the statement continued. "Austin’s performance in The Iceman Cometh showed a maturity and depth not often found in someone his age, we couldn't be happier with Baz’s brilliant choice."
Luhrmann also confirmed the casting news on his social media accounts on Monday, tweeting a side-by-side shot of Presley and Butler, who recently dyed his hair black for the role.
Once news broke, Butler's longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, was one of the first to react to the casting via Instagram, writing, "I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F**KING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT 😍😍😍😍😍😍 SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!"
According to a press release from Warner Bros. Pictures, the movie will explore the life and music of Presley, "through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker," played in the film by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks. 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.
Rumors have been swirling for a while now that Butler, who also appears alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, would portray the iconic role of Presley. Other celebrities reportedly in the running included Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.