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The Horrifying Elvis Story Tied To The Singer’s Death That Baz Luhrmann Left Out Of The Movie

Now that Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis has made its way to theaters, and is earning mostly favorable reviews, audiences who are casual Elvis fans are starting to learn what a terrible person Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) is/was to the Memphis-bred singer. The movie argues that Parker bled Elvis dry of his financials, leaving the 42-year-old virtually broke by the time that he passed away. In addition to those horrifying facts, Luhrmann told us about a situation that reportedly happened that he left OUT of his movie, even though it got to the heart of what Parker really thought about Elvis and his fanbase.

Before Elvis opened, CinemaBlend was able to travel to Memphis and interview the film’s cast at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. And it was during these conversation with the Elvis cast that we heard this horrible tale from Baz Luhrmann about the man through which the director wanted to frame his Elvis story. As Luhrmann told us:

It’s not in this movie – I didn’t put this bit in – but when Elvis dies, and the Colonel gets the phone call, the first thing he does is pick the phone straight up and rings RCA and says, ‘Print more records.’ Now we all go, ‘What a cold human being.’ Actually, probably yes. But he would go, ‘Yeah, but YOU wanted the records! I just did my job!’

He’s not wrong. As Tom Hanks would say through the course of those interviews, Col. Tom Parker was a terrific marketer, and a terrible manager. He didn’t care what Elvis (Austin Butler) sang from the stage. He only cared about how the audience engaged with him, reacted to him, and paid to support him. Because money heading to Elvis meant money heading to the Colonel. 

Baz Luhrmann does go on to say that while Elvis shows us a side of Tom Hanks that we haven’t seen on screen before, the movie does not try to make up our minds regarding Col. Tom Parker. Luhrmann states:  

I’m not here to tell you that the Colonel was right or wrong. I’m here to engage everybody out there in the audience and have them come into a dark room, all as strangers watch(ing) a story, and feel something afterwards and have a discussion and a drink and a dance and whatever.

If you watched Elvis over the opening weekend, you have to watch Tom Hanks’ full interview with ReelBlend, CinemaBlend’s official film podcast. 

As of this moment, Elvis has tied Top Gun: Maverick at the box office in its opening weekend, with the latter film crushing for weeks and even setting box-office records during its run. Part of this is because of the strong word of mouth. The rest is because of the viral love Top Gun has been receiving for things like Miles Teller’s mustache, or Glen Powell’s abs. These two movies have two more weeks to dominate before Thor: Love and Thunder drops, and likely sweeps up all the attention. But the bottom line is that summer blockbusters are back, and our upcoming 2022 movie release calendar tells you that there are even more on the way. 

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.