Actor Austin Butler has been cast to play Elvis Presley in director Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film chronicling the late star's life, with his casting ending a major competition for the coveted role.
Deadline reports that the film will trace Presley's life from his childhood to his ascent to a level of stardom that his since been almost unmatched. The movie will follow Presley's "elevation to a level of stardom and celebrity matched only by The Beatles, set against an evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America" and will be seen through the "prism" of Presley's relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker, who will be played by Tom Hanks.
"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," Luhrmann said in a statement to Deadline. "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."
The movie will be distributed by Warner Bros. and will film early next year in Queensland, Australia. Luhrmann will direct the project from the screenplay he wrote with Craig Pearce and will produce alongside his wife, Catherine Martin. The Hollywood Reporter shares that Luhrmann and Martin have been developing the Presley project since Luhrmann wrapped 2013's The Great Gatsby, his most recent feature film.
Butler's recent projects include Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die. He has also appeared on the small screen in shows including The Carrie Diaries, Arrow and Switched at Birth.
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