Cheat Sheet

Austin Butler Morphs Into The King In The First Trailer For Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis

Here’s everything you need to know about Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited musical biopic.
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The headlines:

Who’s in the cast of Elvis?

Austin Butler will lead the razzle-dazzle Baz Luhrmann spectacular, while Tom Hanks will play The King’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and Australian newcomer Olivia DeJonge will appear as Priscilla.

When is the release date for Elvis?

The Elvis Presley biopic will finally premiere on 24 June 2022.

What’s the plot of Elvis?

Baz Luhrmann’s take on the rock ’n’ roll legend’s story will follow the “Hound Dog” musician from his boyhood in Tupelo through to his death at the age of 42.

Where can I watch Elvis?

Elvis will be released in cinemas across the UK.

Is there a trailer for Elvis?

A first trailer for Elvis dropped on 17 February, offering a first proper glimpse of Butler in character as Elvis, as well as Hanks as the formidable Colonel. Also of note: the surreal aesthetic, which calls to mind Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

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The details:

Butler beat out some truly starry names to play the King of Rock ’n’ Roll

If you recognise Butler, it’s most likely from Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, where he had a bit part as the Manson family’s Tex Watson, making his casting in Luhrmann’s much-hyped biopic even more notable. According to reports, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, and Harry Styles (potentially the greatest actor of our times), all gyrated their hips in auditions for the role before the Oscar-winning director settled on Butler.

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Elvis’s relationship with his long-time manager Colonel Tom Parker will take precedence over his marriage

As mentioned above, Hanks will appear as Elvis’s manager, a former carnival worker who launched the King’s career in the mid-’50s by negotiating a contract for him at RCA – ultimately staying with Elvis until his death in 1977. From the release of Elvis’s first hit single “Heartbreak Hotel” onward, Parker had a vice-like grip over the musician – taking a significant cut of his royalties and influencing every one of his professional decisions (including his much-derided post-war transition to Hollywood), as well as his personal ones (not least his marriage to Priscilla, which Parker realised would drum up publicity).

The plot will be wide-ranging – and offer a portrait of the spectacular mid-century American music scene

Much like Walk the Line did for Elvis’s contemporary Johnny Cash, Luhrmann’s biopic is expected to trace the King’s life from his childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi, through to his death on his Graceland estate. (Australian actor Chaydon Jay will appear as Elvis as a boy.) Luhrmann will reportedly use the “Shake, Rattle & Roll” singer’s career to trace the “evolving cultural landscape” and the “loss of innocence” in America over the course of his 21 years in the spotlight, with cameos from plenty of other musicians, including B B King (Kelvin Harrison Jr) and Little Richard (Alton Mason).

Despite the distinctly American storyline, filming happened largely in Queensland rather than Graceland

Graceland, Elvis’s Memphis, Tennessee, estate, remains one of the most visited private homes in America more than 50 years after the King’s death. According to reports, Luhrmann fully recreated the Colonial Revival mansion in a Queensland studio, along with the sets for Elvis’s Las Vegas performances in the late ’60s and early ’70s. After years of making terrible Hollywood movies, the King famously turned his career around in a single night at the International Hotel on 31 July 1969, stepping out from behind a gold lamé curtain to perform for a 2,000-strong crowd that included Cary Grant, Sammy Davis Jr, and Paul Anka.

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Oscar-winner Catherine Martin is in charge of the costumes

Martin, who worked with Luhrmann on Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby, will lend her magic touch to the costumes and sets for her husband’s Elvis biopic. Born into poverty, the King used his clothes (and aesthetic generally) to highlight his outrageous success. He famously wore a gold lamé suit – claimed to be worth $10,000 – on the cover of his breakout album, 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong, and once had a limo embellished with crushed diamonds. That’s before mentioning his pioneering love of the Canadian tuxedo, androgynous jumpsuits, Hawaiian prints, and naval-bearing shirts – influencing everyone from Tupac to Harry Styles through the years.