Baz Luhrmann Explains Why He Didn't Cast Harry Styles in "Elvis"

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally happening! Nearly eight years after beloved film director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, anyone?) first announced his Elvis Presley biopic in 2014, the highly-anticipated film is officially here. On May 24, 2022, Elvis made its worldwide premiere during the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie's lead actor, Austin Butler, also made waves for channeling the controversial music legend. Ahead, find everything we know about Elvis.

Are there any clips from the Elvis movie?

There sure are. On May 6, Warner Brothers posted a scene of Elvis' performance from the Louisiana hayride on their official YouTube channel.

A new clip from the movie also debuted at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards on Sunday, June 5. In it, we see Austin Butler in action as Elvis and his impression is seriously uncanny. Have a look for yourself on MTV's Instagram.

Who was cast in Elvis?

According to Deadline, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Austin beat out the likes of Harry Styles, Miles Teller, and Ansel Elgort for the film's lead role.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Tom Hanks was cast as Elvis's longtime manager, Colonel Thomas Andrew Parker, while Olivia DeJonge landed a role as Priscilla Presley. Kelvin Harrison Jr, Alton Mason, Yola, Hank Snow, and Jimmie Rodgers signed on to make guest appearances as B.B. King, Little Richard, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Hank Snow, and Jimmie Rodgers, respectively. Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery and Maggie Gyllenhaal are also slated to appear in the film.

What has Baz Luhrmann said about the casting process for the lead role in Elvis?

"As It Was" singer Harry Styles was in the running for the starring role in Elvis. Director Baz Luhrmann opened up to the Fitzy & Wippa podcast about his decision not to cast Harry on Monday, June 6.

"Harry is a really talented actor. I would work on something with him... but the real issue with Harry is, he's Harry Styles. He's already an icon," Luhrmann explained. Although Austin Butler, who received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, landed the lead role, Luhrmann had a great experience with Harry during the process."Harry and I came to a place, genuinely I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore," Luhrmann continued. "He's such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles."

Unlike most films, Luhrmann hosted a series of "rich workshops" instead of traditional auditions to determine who'd land the lead role in Elvis.

How did Austin Butler prepare for his role?

Elvis was originally scheduled to begin filming in 2020 but was delayed after Tom Hanks contracted COVID-19. During his time off, Austin took his role so seriously that he transformed his apartment into a "detective scene" to help get into character during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Austin told British GQ that he had "images of Elvis everywhere, from every time period" around his home. "I think the film would have been very different if we had started shooting at that point, and I'm grateful I had the time to let myself marinate."

"When I began the process, I set out to get my voice to be identical [to Elvis]. That instills fear. So that got the fire burning. For a year before we started shooting, I was doing voice coaching," Austin told The Hollywood Reporter. "I watched as much [footage of Elvis’ concerts] as I could, over and over. I feel such a responsibility to Elvis and to Priscilla and Lisa Marie, and all the people around the world who love him so much."

The 30-year-old actor also revealed to British GQ that he was hospitalized after wrapping the movie in March 2021. The report states that Austin "had given himself over to the role so much that his body revolted."

"The next day [after we wrapped filming] I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital," Austin told the outlet, sharing that he was diagnosed with a "virus that simulates appendicitis" and that he had spent a week bedridden.

Is there a trailer for the Elvis movie?

Yes! Austin Butler posted the official trailer to his Instagram account on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Some of Austin's friends and past co-stars like Ashley Tisdale and AnnaSophia Robb left endearing comments in support of him and the highly-anticipated movie.

What is Elvis about?

Photo credit: Alon Amir - Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Alon Amir - Warner Bros.

According to Deadline, the film will highlight the relationship between Elvis and his longtime manager. It will reportedly look back on the singer "who came from dirt-poor origins" on his journey to becoming an "iconic star who changed the course of music." Us Weekly reports that the movie will take us back to Elvis' early days in his preteen years. The role of Priscilla Presley has also been cast, so it's safe to assume there may be a wedding scene. Since Dacre Montgomery was cast as Steve Binder, the director of Elvis' '68 Comeback Special, there's a chance that can be a major event in the movie, too.

Does Elvis' family support the movie?

Elvis' ex-wife and mother to his children, Priscilla Presley, officially given the movie her stamp of approval. In April 2022, she took to Twitter to share a statement.

"This story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker's relationship. It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered," Priscilla wrote. "Austin Butler, who played Elvis is outstanding. Halfway through the film, Jerry [Schilling] and I looked at each other and said 'WOW!!! Bravo to him.' He knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine."

"The story, as we all know, does not have a happy ending," she added. "But I think you will understand a little bit more of Elvis' journey, penned by a director who put his heart and soul and many hours into this film."

In May 2022, Priscilla revealed that Elvis' daughter, Lisa-Marie Presley also loves the movie, and that they think his granddaughter, Riley Keough, will love it, too.

"I've seen Elvis the film, I watched the trailer over a dozen times. But the words I heard from my daughter on how much she loved the film and that Riley will love it too when she sees it brought tears," Priscilla wrote on Instagram. "I relived every moment in this film. It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia."

What songs are on the Elvis soundtrack?

ICYMI, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge brought us the iconic rendition of "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, P!nk, and Mya, and 2o13's The Great Gatsby graced us with the hauntingly beautiful "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey. That being said, we already know that the Elvis soundtrack is going to be nothing short of epic — especially because of the legendary staples of "The King's" discography.

At the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Doja Cat premiered her song for the movie, "Vegas," during her set, and at the 2022 Met Gala, it was revealed that Kacey Musgraves sang a rendition of Elvis' beloved song, "I Can't Help Falling in Love" for the movie. According to an Instagram post by the movie's official account, the soundtrack also features Måneskin, Tame Impala, Stevie Nicks, Jack White, and Jazmine Sullivan, among others.

There's no word yet on when the soundtrack will release, but it's safe to assume it will drop when the movie does.

When does the Elvis movie come out?

The long-awaited biopic hits theaters on June 24, 2022. Elvis will also be available for streaming on HBO Max for 45 days after it's released in theaters.

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