Baz Luhrmann has chosen Austin Butler to star in his upcoming Elvis biopic. The untitled project has already had its eyes on Tom Hanks to play manager Colonel Tom Parker, but it is unclear if Hanks has officially signed on to the movie or not. Butler reportedly went through many screen tests before getting the part of the King of Rock N' Roll. Luhrmann is directing the biopic from a script he co-wrote with Craig Pearce.
It was previously reported Harry Styles and Ansel Elgort were the frontrunners for the Elvis biopic. While Baz Luhrmann was impressed with everyone who tested to play Elvis on the big screen, it was Austin Butler who checked all the right boxes for the director. Luhrmann released a statement and had this to say about casting Austin Robert Butler.
"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. 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."
Casting a well-known person for a movie is never an easy thing to do. From Malcolm X, to Freddie Mercury, to Johnny Cash, or Dick Cheney, it's hard to find the right actor to take on the role of a real person. Bohemian Rhapsody lucked out by finding Rami Malek to portray iconic rock front man Freddie Mercury. But an Elvis biopic is a whole new level of pressure. There more than likely would not be a Mercury, or a lot of other famous rock artists, had it not been for Elvis Presley.
With that being said, Baz Luhrmann has really set himself up to receive a lot of criticism for even attempting an Elvis biopic. The musician/actor is known as the King of Rock N' Roll for a reason and his fans from all over the world are going to be watching everything Luhrmann does to make sure he doesn't tarnish the good name of Elvis. Whatever the case may be, with Luhrmann on board, this could be a very interesting take on the life of Elvis.
Austin Butler made his Broadway this year opposite Denzel Washington in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh and received rave reviews. He will next be seen on the big screen in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which hits theaters at the end of this month. He can currently be seen in Jim Jarmucsch's The Dead Don't Die. Production on the Elvis biopic is set to begin at the beginning of 2020 in order to reportedly accommodate Tom Hanks' busy schedule. Deadline was the first to report the Elvis biopic casting of Austin Butler.