Baz Luhrmann has found the lead for his forthcoming Elvis Presley biopic. Austin Butler has been tapped to play the King of Rock and Roll alongside Tom Hanks, who was previously cast as Elvis’ legendary manager, Col. Tom Parker.
The new film from the Moulin Rouge! director will follow Presley’s rise to fame, with a particular focus on his relationship with the controlling Parker. The 20-year journey to stardom will be set “against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America,” as Warner Bros. puts it (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Speaking on Butler’s casting, Luhrmann noted in a statement,
“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.”
The yet-titled film is being co-written by Luhrmann alongside his frequent collaborator Craig Pearce. Luhrmann will also produce the feature with his wife Catherine Martin as well as Gail Berman.
Most recently, Butler appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie flick Dead Don’t Die and will next be seen in Quentin Tarainteno’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Hanks has delighted kids and grownups alike by reprising his role as Woody in Toy Story 4.