After a strenuous year in film following the impact from the coronavirus, Baz Luhrmann's long-awaited Elvis Presley biopic has officially been delayed to 2022. The film, now in production in Australia, features Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler as Presley and Tom Hanks as Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The still-untitled movie was scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 5, 2021, but Warner Bros. has now delayed it until June 3, 2022.
Luhrmann, who is best known for directing the Oscar-nominated musical Moulin Rouge! and the glitzy 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio, reportedly has another five weeks of material to shoot, sources told Variety. It would not have been finished on time to get the film out before the end of the year. Production began back in March 2020, but everything was put on hold when Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Australia. The two were the first Hollywood stars to reveal they tested positive for the virus publicly. They have since both recovered from COVID-19.
The film is set to cover the first 20 years of Presley's career and his complicated relationship with Parker. Oliva DeJonge stars as Priscilla Presley, Yola plays Rosetta Tharpe, and Kevin Harrison Jr. will play B.B. King. Other cast members include Dacre Montgomery, Helen Thompson, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Zavier Samuel, Leon Ford, Kate Mulvany, Josh McConville, and Alton Mason. Luhrmann wrote the script with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce.
Other parts of the film will be filled with experienced musicians. Earlier this week, Deadline reported that guitarist Gary Clark Jr. was cast as Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, who wrote "That's All Right," one of the songs that propelled Presley to stardom. Grammy-nominated singer Yola was cast as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose songs were influential to the early rock and roll stars.
Elvis was notably not one of the movies Warner Bros. included in the 2021 collection of movies released to HBO Max on the same day their theatrical runs begin. That was likely one hint that the studio did not expect the movie to be ready. The movies that will be streaming the same day they hit theaters include Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, In the Heights, Judas and the Black Messiah, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, and The Matrix 4. These movies will all be on the streaming platform for a month before they are exclusively available to see in theaters. After they finish their theatrical runs, they will be available to rent or buy.