Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Movie Has Found Its King

Austin Butler in The Shannara Chronicles

It’s been a while since director Baz Luhrmann delivered a movie to the masses, the last one being his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in 2013. But the filmmaker is finally moving full steam ahead on his next cinematic project, which will be a biopic centered on the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. It’s now been announced that The Shannara Chronicles star Austin Butler has been cast as the iconic musician.

Word came in earlier this month that Austin Butler was one of the finalists to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, and now he’s beaten out Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller for the role, though Luhrmann took his time making a selection. Here’s what the director told Deadline about how he concluded that Butler was the right actor to bring Elvis to life in his movie:

I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist. Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.

Austin Butler has primarily made an impression in the TV realm, recurring in shows like Life Unexpected, Switched at Birth and Arrow, and being the lead in the short-lived The Carrie Diaries and The Shannara Chronicles, the latter of which ended in November 2017. On the big screen, Butler’s credits include Yoga Hosers, The Dead Don’t Die and the upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

He will act in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic alongside Tom Hanks, who is playing Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presely’s longtime manager who controlled almost every aspect of the singer’s life. While the movie will chronicle Elvis’ path to becoming a worldwide phenomenon, it will specifically frame this story through his complex relationship with Parker.

No other actors have boarded the Elvis biopic, but you can count on more casting information arriving in the coming months. Bas Luhrmann has brought in some of his frequent collaborators for the project, such as Craig Pearce writing the script, and Catherine Martin serving as production designer and costume designer. Warner Bros will release the picture worldwide.

No release date has been set for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, but production is scheduled to begin early next year in Queensland, Australia. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on the project’s development, including what the official title will be.

In the meantime, scan through our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are coming out later this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.