Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Movie: 7 Quick Things We Know About The Biopic

Elvis Presley in Clambake
(Image credit: United Artists)

Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks teamed up for one of the most highly anticipated 2022 movies, which deals with the life and fame of Elvis Presley. Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks are both world renowned artists, and this Elvis Presley project has the potential to be another career high for both. It’s been many years in the making, but fans of Baz Luhrmann, Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley, or all three will finally see this movie come to the big screen in 2022. 

Before Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie comes to a theater near you, let’s take a look at some of the things we know about it so far. 

Warner Bros. Pictures Logo

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley Movie Premieres On June 24, 2022

Warner Bros. Pictures plans to release Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film on June 24, 2022. 

In 2014, The Wrap broke the story that Warner Bros. Pictures and Baz Luhrmann were negotiating a deal for him to direct a movie about the life of Elvis Presley. However, production went into high gear in 2019. By August of that year, Warner Bros. planned to release the movie on October 1, 2021, but the pandemic caused filming and release dates to become a bit uncertain. 

By April 2020, the film had moved to a November 5, 2021 release. Then in January 2021, the film was set to premiere on June 3, 2022. It was announced in November 2021 that the Elvis Presley film would premiere in theaters on June 24, 2022. Warner Bros. announced in August 2021, that all their films would exclusively premiere in theaters for a 45 day window and then become available on HBO Max. This likely means that Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie will appear on HBO Max by the end of August 2022.

Austin Butler sits brooding on a bed in The Dead Don't Die.

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Austin Butler Stars As Elvis Presley In Baz Luhrmann’s Film

In July 2019, Deadline officially revealed that Austin Butler would take on the role of The King in Baz Luhrmann’s film. A few weeks prior to this announcement, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Butler’s name was on a short list of potential actors to play Elvis Presley.

Those names were Butler, Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Miles Teller. Butler has appeared in many film and television shows, but this upcoming Elvis movie could make him a big household name. Luhrmann has already spoken about Butler’s performance in the film.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Luhrmann had this to say about Austin Butler’s performance:

Austin is going to make himself a superstar, he is phenomenal in the movie. I don't usually say anything about the performances in my movies but he is phenomenal.

Luhrmann speaking so highly of Butler’s performance makes us even more excited to watch his version of Elvis Presley. 

Tom Hanks in The Green Mile 1999

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

The Cast Of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley Movie Includes An Ensemble Led By Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks joined this movie project long before Austin Butler had the role of the famed singer. Hanks plays Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell were originally attached to play Elvis Presley’s parents, but before filming began, Richard Roxburgh and Helen Thomson took on the roles of Vernon and Gladys Presley. 

The Elvis Presley film cast also includes other familiar names, such as Dacre Montgomery, David Wenham, and Luke Bracey. Kelvin Harrison Jr. also has a major role in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie, and plays B.B King. Olivia DeJonge plays the role of Elvis Presley’s wife Priscilla Presley.

Gary Clark Jr. in Come Together music video

(Image credit: Warner Records)

The Cast Of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley Film Combines Established Musicians With Up and Coming Artists

According to a Deadline source, Luhrmann wanted to mix well-known music stars with rising talents. The supporting roles in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley film include Grammy winners and nominees, such as Gary Clark Jr. as Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, and Yola as Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The lesser-known musicians include Shonka Dukureh as Big Mama Thornton,  Shannon Sanders, Lenesha Randolph, and Jordan Holland.

Luhrmann also cast newcomer Alton Mason in a major role as Little Richard.

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Presley Movie Teaser Image

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Picitures)

Baz Luhrmann Released A Teaser For His Elvis Presley Movie

In November 2021, Baz Luhrmann posted a teaser for the film on Twitter. It just shows the back of Austin Butler’s head in various scenes from the film. It’s only 19 seconds and features Elvis’ song “Suspicious Minds” in the background. The clip also ends with the initials TCB, which stands for “Taking Care of Business,” which was one of Elvis Presley’s personal mantras. Though Baz Luhrmann’s movie is still officially untitled, many may assume that TCB or “Taking Care of Business” will be the name of the film.

The teaser also revealed the official release date, June 24, 2022. The first look of Baz Luhrmann’s film definitely leaves us wanting more. Hopefully, Luhrmann and team release an official trailer within the first few months of 2022. 

Aquaman Screenshot of Queensland

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Picitures)

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley Movie Filmed in Queensland

Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie began filming in March 2020, but had to halt production when Tom Hanks contracted the coronavirus. Filming officially resumed in September 2020, and Luhrmann told KFTV that Australia was “one of the great filmmaking locations in the world.”

In an interview with Australian Financial Review, Baz Luhrmann discussed how Australia is having a major moment in the film industry with more movies being filmed there, and some studios even considering relocating to various locations in Australia. He talks about the benefits and drawbacks to this surge of films, and also shared how the location has affected how he feels about his Elvis movie. 

Just when I think I’ve seen or experienced it all, I end up making a film about Elvis by myself on the Gold Coast – and being wowed by it. It’s energised, enlivened me to find myself at my age back in a place not unlike where I grew up.

Elvis Presley in Clambake

(Image credit: United Artists)

Baz Luhrmann’s Film Depicts 20 Years Of Elvis Presley’s Life

In many of Deadline’s cast announcements, the synopsis for the film revealed that it depicts 20 years of Elvis’ life, starting from his humble beginnings. Luhrmann confirmed this in his Australian Financial Review interview. He also said that the film will be less about Elvis and more about showcasing American life from the '50s, '60s, and '70s:

When I look at musical biography, it’s not really about the life. I’m not about lionising Elvis. I just saw him as the best canvas on which to explore America in the modern age, the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

Luhrmann also gave more plot details, including the heart of the Elvis film. 

I saw this story of the Colonel and Elvis as a really great prism through which to explore the latter part of the 20th century. Elvis represents what happens when a kid lives in one of four designated white houses in a black community. Something new comes about, a fusion between country and African-American music, gospel and country-and-western music.

He also went on to explain more about the film, especially with what Tom Hanks’ character represents. 

The Colonel represents that other quality in America, ‘the big sell.’ The tension between the two is great when they’re in balance. But when they’re thrown out of balance, and it just becomes about exploiting and selling and ceases to be creative, then the world’s out of whack...and the world seemed to move that way some years ago.

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie will for sure have people talking. He also assured people that Austin Butler and Tom Hanks both give stellar performances. If the release date isn’t changed, expect to see Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie in theaters on June 24, 2022. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.