Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Movie Just Got Some Major Praise From Priscilla Presley

Austin Butler performing in a pink suit in Elvis.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Whenever there’s a high profile biopic that comes out, it’s not unique for the family of the subject to speak out about said movie or television show. Famously, 2019’s Best Picture winner Green Book was slammed by Dr. Donald Shirley’s family, and Nina Simone’s daughter Lisa was unhappy with 2016’s Nina, which had Zoe Saldaña portraying the singer. With Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis just two months away, we’ve finally heard word from the late King of Rock and Roll’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley. 

Priscilla Presley met Elvis in 1959 and married him in 1967. They divorced in 1973, but their daughter Lisa Marie Presley remained a connective tissue in their lives until Elvis’ death in 1977. Priscilla took to her Facebook page to share her thoughts on Elvis, and she sounds pleased with the upcoming 2022 movie

For those curious about the new film ELVIS, Baz Luhrmann, the director, provided a private screening for me and Jerry Schilling at Warner studios recently. This story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker’s relationship. It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered. Austin Butler, who played Elvis, is outstanding. Halfway through the film Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW!!! Bravo to him…he knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine. Tom Hanks was Col Parker in this film. What a character he was. There was two sides to Colonel, Jerry and I witnessed both. The story, as we all know, does not have a happy ending. But I think you will understand a little bit more of Elvis’ journey, penned by a director who put his heart and soul and many hours into this film.

The 76-year-old businesswoman and actress shared some serious praise for Elvis ahead of its summer release. She specifically shouted out Austin Butler’s performance as her ex-husband, calling the actor “outstanding” in the role of the King. Butler was cast in summer of 2019, reportedly beating out bigger names like Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller for the role. 

Priscilla Presley also talked briefly about Tom Hanks in the role of Colonel Tom Parker, who was Elvis Presley’s manager. Priscilla shared that from her own personal experiences, there were “two sides” of the manager, which she was witness to in her own life. She said that she feels like Elvis will give audiences a greater understanding of the singer’s life through the movie. 

This is probably the best thumbs up Baz Luhrmman could have received for Elvis, and knowing that the King’s own wife of many years recommends it adds to the hype of the release. Check out the trailer for Elvis below: 

Elvis was shot in Australia just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread. Tom Hanks was filming the movie when he got coronavirus in early March 2020, alongside his wife Rita Wilson. They were among the first major names to contract the virus. This is Baz Luhrmann’s first movie in almost a decade, following The Great Gatsby. The director also reimagined Shakespeare with 1996’s Romeo + Juliet and made the now-classic musical Moulin Rouge., as well as created the short-lived Netflix series The Get Down.

Elvis, which also stars Dacre Montgomery, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Xavier Samuel, hits theaters on June 24, 2022. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.