EXCLUSIVE : Director Baz Luhrmann has found his Elvis. He has commissioned Austin Butler to play the lead role of Elvis Presley in the unnamed drama that shows the growth of the seminal legend from the sleazy singer to the global icon. The final role will be played by Tom Hanks and Warner Bros will be distributed worldwide.
The film will be shot early next year in Queensland, Australia. Warner Bros Pictures is distributed worldwide. The film will track Presley's rise to a level of fame and celebrity that can only be achieved by the Beatles in the context of a changing cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America.
CNN launches 'The Movies', A Cinephile's Dream Look at the movie and its effects over the decades
This was a hotly contested role. Butler filmed a test for Luhrmann, as did Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles. It was not an easy choice and Luhrmann took his time. In Butler, he has selected an actor who has credit and is ready for a big leap. He made his Broadway debut in 2018 alongside Washington in George C. Wolfe's adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh in which he received strong reviews for his role as the "lost boy" Don Parritt received. He will be seen later this month along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood . Butler is currently seen alongside Bill Murray and Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch's Die Die Todes on the silver screen. He fulfilled all criteria for Luhrmann.
"I knew that I could not shoot this movie if the casting is not absolutely true, and we searched thoroughly for an actor who wanted the movie unique natural movement and the vocal qualities of this incomparable star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist, "Luhrmann said in a statement to Deadline. "Throughout the casting, it has been an honor to come across so many talents. I had heard about Austin Butler about his outstanding role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I clearly knew I'd found someone who could personify the spirit of one of the most famous musical figures in the world.
Luhrmann will be directing the current script he co-wrote with Craig Pearce. Luhrmann will also feature Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss in addition to multiple Oscar winner Catherine Martin, co-worker of The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, who will serve as production designer and costume designer. Andrew Mittman becomes executive producer. The film is filmed in Queensland with the support of the Queensland Government, Screen Queensland and the Australian Government's Producers Offset Program.
Butler is being re-recorded by WME and Anonymous Content.