Austin Butler Says He's 'Honored' to Play Elvis in Baz Luhrmann's New Biopic
On Monday night, the 27-year-old actor — who was just cast as Elvis Presley for a new biopic about the legendary singer — walked the red carpet with long-time girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, for the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The young actor stars opposite Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in the anticipated Quentin Tarantino film.
“I am just profoundly honored that Baz has invited me on this journey with him,” he told the outlet. “It’s an extraordinary privilege. And I just feel so blessed to be working with such singular directors like him and Quentin Tarantino.”
The famed Moulin Rouge! director announced his decision on July 15, after having narrowed down his list to include Butler, Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Miles Teller, per reports. All five of them are said to have tested in late June for the role.
“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,” Luhrmann said in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent,” he continued. “I had heard about Austin Butler from his standout 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.”
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Prior to reportedly testing the actors, Luhrmann sent out a public casting notice for the part, asking anyone interested in the role to send photos to email@example.com.
The movie will follow the late icon’s rise to stardom and his close relationship with his manager Col. Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, who had control over all aspects of Presley’s life.
The movie begins shooting next year in Australia.