Elvis is a certified hit.
The musical biography highlights the famous artist, notably his rise to fame due to his provocative style and the personal struggles that the “King of Rock N Roll” has dealt with, including his manager, Tom Parker. Of course, a big reason for the critical and commercial success of the film is veteran Baz Luhmann, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who also directed The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge. The filmmaker is a huge fan of the artist himself, noting in a Who magazine about his admiration for Elvis’ Hollywood career, including movies such as 1953’s Love Me Tender, 1961’s Blue Hawaii, and 1964’s Viva Las Vegas, “When we had the cinema, my in for Elvis was probably all the cheesy movies which I thought were works of genius, and I’m starting to realize that’s probably why my movies look they do.”
Luhrmann doesn’t hide his fandom regarding Mr. Presley. Still, it’s also shared that there was a point when his taste in music changed from Elvis to the likes of David Bowie and Elton John, “I just loved the ’70s things, but then he went very much out of my life, and it was very much David Bowie and [Elton John], and he became kind of around and there, but I wasn’t a fan so much. It wasn’t like I was one of those ‘to the day I die, don’t you ever say anything (bad) about Elvis.’ He’s beyond music; he’s become cultural wallpaper, and (I) think my job was to peel back the wallpaper,” Baz added.
Not surprisingly, there’s more to the story than what fans saw in theaters. When it comes to the life of any celebrity, a two-hour (or three) picture will never capture the entire story of a said human being. Still, Luhman revealed to Collider that he has a four-hour film cut, though it’s not clear if they’re ever releasing it, “I’ve got a four-hour version. I shouldn’t say that, but I have… I have to make a two-and-a-half-hour version and serve the main art… It’s an assembly. It’s a different kind of movie.”
Luhrmann went on to explain his thought process of the film, noting that he doesn’t view it as a music biopic, as it’s more of a stab at the American culture’s 50s, 60s, and 70s, “It’s really for me about America in the 50s and 60s and 70s. If you want to talk about America in the 50s and 60s and 70s, Elvis was at the center of culture, for the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Luhrmann stated at the Warner Bros. Discovery CinemaCon panel in Las Vegas. “Shakespeare would explore culture through kings.” he continued. “If it feels a bit like a superhero film, it is because Elvis is actually like the original superhero.”
That brings over to the method behind choosing Austin Butler for the title role, who beat out Harry Styles and Miles Teller for the part, “Harry is a talented actor,” Luhrmann stated on Sydney’s Nova FM, which was reported by Billboard. “I would work on something with him… but the real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles. He’s already an icon.”
“The Thing about Austin was that he will tell you himself, I didn’t pick him; it’s as if he was drawn like the role drew them in because he was almost born to play it,” Luhrmann says. Most worldwide audiences would agree as Butler has been notably praised for his performance as “the king of rock and roll.” Elvis has collected more than $280 million at the box office, and though the film isn’t told from the man’s perspective, the feature has been hailed as one of the best movies in 2022.
There’s no telling whether Elvis will get any love at the Academy Awards or any other big award ceremonies. Still, there’s no denying the film has been one of the more critical commercial success stories of 2022. More importantly, it introduced a new generation to one of the most iconic performers in music. Elvis was released on Video OnDemand on August 9, with the film later being distributed on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray, and DVD on September 13. The film also came out on HBO Max on September 2. Should there be any updates regarding award nominations for the 2022 film, we will surely update you about the pic here.
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