Why Harry Styles Wasn’t Chosen to Play Elvis Presley

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

Harry Styles is known to most people as a musician—whether they're fans of his work in One Direction or his more recent solo projects like the just-debuted “Harry’s House.” But recently, he has garnered recognition for his acting work, appearing in the 2017 Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk, as well as the highly anticipated Don't Worry Darling and My Policeman, which are both set to release later this year.

In May, Styles revealed that he had auditioned for Baz Lurhman’s Elvis. “Elvis was probably the first person I knew besides my family when I was a kid,” he told Howard Stern. “For that reason, there was something incredibly sacred surrounding him, so I thought I should try to get the part.”

Given Styles's level of fame, it may come as a surprise that Luhrmann passed on the former boy band member for the role of Elvis, opting instead to go with young actor Austin Butler. During an appearance on the Australian radio podcast Fitzy & Wippa, Luhrmann shared why Styles wasn’t cast.

“The real issue with Harry is, he's Harry Styles," Luhrmann said. “He's already an icon.” Luhrmann further explained that he thinks Styles is a talented actor and would love to work with him on a future project.

Styles later said he wasn’t offended by the decision. “If they think the movie’s going to be better with someone else then I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to be the not-as-good version,” he told Stern.

Perhaps things work out in the end, as Butler clearly had a special connection to Elvis. During a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, he revealed that he basically put his life on hold for two years for the role, admitting he “went down the rabbit hole of obsession.”

Photo credit: Hugh Stewart - Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Hugh Stewart - Warner Bros.

“The thing about Austin was that he will tell you himself, I didn’t pick him: It’s as if he was drawn, like the role drew him in because he was almost born to play it,” Luhrmann said.

Butler also recently spoke to the New York Times about his commitment to playing the King. “I want everybody to love the film, obviously, but the pressure I have really felt is doing justice to Elvis,” he said. “Humanizing him. Adding to his legacy and maybe, hopefully, even reclaiming some of his legacy.”

Elvis will be released in theaters June 24.

You Might Also Like