Elvis. No one hears that name without immediately thinking about the hip-thrusting King of Rock 'n’ Roll himself. Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic about the raunchy rock star needs no further introduction than the title itself, Elvis.
Biopics about iconic musical artists have been all the rage in the film world recently, such as the glitzy Rocketman, a look at the wild career of pop star Elton John. There was also Bohemian Rhapsody, which told the story of Queen with a particular focus on Freddie Mercury. However, it was heavily criticized for its “watered down” depiction of many of the events of Freddie’s life due to its PG-13 rating.
Telling the stories of such classic figures is a hard thing to get right, but both critics and audiences alike have high hopes for Luhrmann’s Elvis. Ahead of its premiere on June 24, 2022, here is everything you need to know about the film:
Ansel Elgort and Harry Styles were rumored for the lead role before Austin Butler was announced
This movie has been in the works for quite a while, with the idea first being pitched in 2014. There was no word about the project for nearly five years after the initial announcement until it was revealed that Tom Hanks would be playing Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who Elvis had quite the tumultuous relationship with.
After that news dropped, rumors began flying about which young hot-shot actor was going to play the titular Elvis Presley. Harry Styles’ name was thrown out into the mix quite a few times, which set Twitter ablaze in 2019 with Styles’ fans singing his praises and saying he would be perfect for Elvis.
Ansel Elgort was another name that was being circulated, and people were on board with this idea because of his brooding looks and already proven acting talent at the time. Then finally, at the end of 2019, it was released that Austin Butler would be stepping into the role, shocking both fans and film buffs alike. Butler was best known for his roles in the hit teen shows Switched at Birth and The Carrie Diaries, and while both of those shows have millions of fans, most people do not hold them to quite the same caliber as portraying the King himself on the silver screen.
However, the tune has changed after the release of the trailer, as many news outlets and critics are fawning over how similar Butler is to Elvis. Southern Living says the “resemblance is uncanny” and that Butler has seemingly mastered Elvis’ signature deep southern drawl. Olivia DeJonge, best known for her role as Elle in The Society, will be playing Priscilla Presley, and she bears quite the stunning resemblance to her. Other cast members include Dacre Montgomery (Billy in Stranger Things) as Steve Binder, and Natasha Bassett, who is currently rumored to be dating Elon Musk, as Dixie Locke.
The creative minds behind The Great Gatsby (2013) will be directing/producing the film
Baz Luhrmann is best known for his heavily stylized and glamorous directing. Most of his movies are very flashy and very showy, so who better to tell the story of Elvis’ dramatic rise to fame? One of Luhrmann’s most recent successes has been the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is colorful and flamboyant, portraying the vibrant parties that Gatsby would throw. Based on the trailer, the Elvis movie doesn’t seem far off from that.
The plot will include important issues of Elvis’ rise to fame
Luhrmann has said that while the movie is quite obviously about Elvis’ life, it is also going to touch on other social and political issues that were occurring from the 50s-70s, when Elvis was on his rise to stardom. War and the Civil Rights Movement were two the Luhrmann mentioned specifically, and I think it will be interesting to see how they weave those plots into the storyline. Based on the trailer itself, as well as many fans sounding off in the YouTube comments on the trailer, it seems like many believe that is going to be quite the realistic telling of his life.
The movie has been embroiled in some controversy, however, as many people are wondering if it is going to address the not-so-glamorous sides of Elvis’ life. There has recently been some contention over whether or not Elvis stole music from Black artists in order to fuel his career. While it is widely agreed upon that he was at least inspired by artists who performed the blues and jazz, no one seems to be able to pinpoint whether or not he stole directly from them. There is a scene in the trailer that shows young Elvis listening to a Black jazz band, but it's hard to tell how far it will actually explore that topic. Elvis also allegedly brought underage girls with him on tour very frequently, and started dating Dixie Locke when she was 15, and he was 22, another issue that may or may not be addressed within the film.
Here’s how fans reacted on Twitter: