Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its King.
After a competitive casting contest, the 27-year-old actor Austin Butler has been chosen to play Presley, Warner Bros announced on Monday.
Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles and Miles Teller all reportedly tested for the role ultimately won by Butler, a Nickelodeon and Disney Channel alumni who last year made his Broadway debut in the revival of The Iceman Cometh starring Denzel Washington.
Butler posted the news to Instagram, quoting from Presley’s hit Love Me Tender: “You have made my life complete, and I love you so.”
Luhrmann, the Oscar-nominated film-maker behind The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge!, said: “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 …
“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 film explores Presley’s life through the lens of his complicated, 20-year relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who will be played by Tom Hanks.
The screenplay was written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, with Luhrmann also co-producing alongside the Oscar-winner Catherine Martin, his partner and frequent collaborator. As on The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge! before it, Martin will also serve as production and costume designer. Production is to begin early next year, with filming taking place in Queensland, Australia.
Butler, who has a role in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, has also been cast in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, set in 1960s Los Angeles and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
with Associated Press