curiosities and things to know about the film

The biopic directed by the Australian director on the artist who changed the history of music is released in theaters on Wednesday 22 June. Elvis Presley’s life – from his beginnings to fame – is told from the point of view of Colonel Tom Parker, the manager who discovered him and with whom he had a complicated relationship. From the plot to the cast, from the costumes to the soundtrack: everything you need to know

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The life and career of the king of rock and roll told by Baz Luhrmann. Today, Wednesday 22 June, it is out in cinemas Elvis, the film by the Australian director dedicated to the artist who changed the history of music. The film, distributed worldwide by Warner Bros, arrives in theaters after its triumphal reception at the Cannes Film Festival. Here are some trivia and things to know about one of the most anticipated films of the year.


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The film revisits the story of Elvis Presley in a cinematic way. Born in Mississippi in 1935 and died at 42, he has sold over a billion records worldwide, becoming a pop icon and influencing entire generations. In the film, his life – from his beginnings to fame – is told from the point of view of Colonel Tom Parker, the manager who discovered him and with whom the artist had a complicated relationship. The two meet when Elvis is a kid performing in the South and Parker has the intuition to turn that talent into a worldwide mass phenomenon. Against the backdrop of these twenty years of success but also of roller coasters, there is an evolving cultural landscape and a changing America.


The film is directed by Australian director Baz Luhrmann. Among other films of him, Moulin Rouge!, Australia, The Great Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet. Luhrmann also signs the script, along with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner. The film runs for about two and a half hours, but the director revealed that there is a four-hour version. “I would have liked to include a few more things, because there is so much more. There is a lot of material shot, but I had to streamline. You get to a point where you can’t keep everything inside. I tried to keep the spirit of the character, ”he said. The director also explained how important it was for him to bring out the cultural context in which Elvis was born: Mississippi, the deep and poor South of the United States, the black community. “I love that the audience understands what his beginnings there meant and how powerful his inspiration was. Elvis’ love of gospel and blues was a genuine reaction to the music he was listening to growing up, being the only white family in a black neighborhood in Memphis, “he pointed out. He also recalled a phrase the artist often said:” I didn’t invent Rock and Roll, I just gave my interpretation. I’m not the king. “

The cast

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The main filming of the biopic took place in Australia, Queensland. As for the cast, Austin Butler is playing Elvis. Next to him, in the role of Tom Parker, plays Tom Hanks. Helen Thomson plays Elvis’ mother, Gladys, while Richard Roxburgh plays his father, Vernon. Olivia DeJonge is Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ great love. Then there are: Luke Bracey as Jerry Schilling, Natasha Bassett as Dixie Locke, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as BB King, Dacre Montgomery is TV director Steve Binder, Adam Dunn is Bill Black, David Wenham is Hank Snow , Xavier Samuel as Scotty Moore, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Leon Ford as Tom Diskin, Kate Mulvany as Marion Keisker, Gareth Davies as Bones Howe, Charles Grounds as Billy Smith, Josh McConville as Sam Phillips, Melina Vidler and Diane , Gary Clark Jr. is Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Yola is Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Elvis is Austin Butler

Austin Butler plays Elvis. The new Hollywood star is 30 years old and is an actor, singer and model. In addition to some appearances in TV series – Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly, The Carrie Diaries, Arrow and especially The Shannara Chronicles – took part in films by important directors, such as The dead don’t die by Jim Jarmusch e Once upon a time in … Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino. He is related to Kaia Gerber, the young model daughter of Cindy Crawford. Before her, he had a relationship with Lily Rose Depp and another – which lasted almost 10 years – with Vanessa Hudgens. To play Elvis and look like him, Butler studied the artist meticulously and almost obsessively, undergoing a real metamorphosis. “I spent two years of my life preparing for this role, trying to learn everything that could be done about him. I worked on the similarity, the hair, the style, the look and of course the movements, where Elvis was truly unique. But what I wanted most of all was to bring out his special soul. I risked being obsessed with him to try to restore his humanity behind the rock icon we all know, ”he said. Harry Styles was also vying for the role, but Luhrmann ultimately cast Butler. The director revealed that Denzel Washington gave him the actor’s name and that it was a video in which Butler sang that bewitched him. Unchained Melody in tears. “Austin lost his mother at the same age as Elvis. His agent sent me this incredible video, ”she said.

Tom Parker is Tom Hanks

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Alongside a young actor, Luhrmann has placed a very experienced one. In the role of Tom Parker is Tom Hanks: to take on the role of the manager who discovered Elvis in 1955, the two-time Oscar winner has transformed himself becoming almost unrecognizable. Overweight, with a persuasive little voice and a Mephistopheles look. After a career in which he has played many positive characters, this time he changes the register to play an ambiguous one: Parker, who has managed almost the entire career of Elvis with a 50% commission, is seen by many as the artist’s handler and by some even as responsible for its demise. “I’ve never been afraid of the character, it’s my job as an actor to put myself in someone else’s shoes. What I did was not to judge him, but to interpret him, even in its nuances, on the border between good and evil that also belonged to him. He was a scammer, a slob with a card game habit, but also a person with extraordinary intuition. The story should give Parker what he owes him for helping to create the phenomenon that was Elvis Presley, “he said. Tom Hanks.

The soundtrack

The soundtrack is of fundamental importance in the film. Austin Butler really sings and in several places his voice merges with Elvis’ original one. Then there are the modern reinterpretations of the King of Rock’s famous pieces. Artists on the soundtrack include Kacey Musgraves, Doja Cat, Eminem, Tame Impala, Jack White, Swae Lee and Diplo. And there are also the Måneskin, who have revisited the iconic If I Can Dreamrecorded by Elvis in 1968. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Baz Luhrmann said: “The reason I wanted to broaden the spectrum of the soundtrack is all in the sign that closes the film: for the influence that Elvis still has on culture and music today. And I beg everyone who goes to see the film to stay for the duration of the titles, because they are full of musical surprises: they start with the new song by Eminem and end with Måneskin playing. If I Can Dream duet with Elvis on the last notes. I think it was very important to underline how fundamental Elvis was for all the music that came after him ”.

The costumes are signed by Prada and Miu Miu

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In addition to the Måneskin, there is another piece of Italy in the film. The costumes, in fact, are signed by Prada and Miu Miu. Miuccia Prada returns to collaborate with Luhrmann and Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin later Romeo + Juliet And The Great Gatsby. The fashion of the 50s, 60s and 70s is reinterpreted in a contemporary way. There are custom dresses and revisited archive pieces. Away with country details, sequins and overly kitschy elements, with cleaner lines and minimal garments. An example? The plum-colored suit worn by Elvis / Austin Butler with a black satin shirt with an important collar and Chelsea boots, with the touch of extravagance given by the metal and stone belt. Then there is the look of Priscilla Presley / Olivia DeJonge, which is revisited through the ugly chic aesthetic of Miuccia Prada: reinterpretations of some prints from the Prada archive, dresses with a bon ton flavor, more rebellious touches such as the matching brocade trousers to a top covered in beads and fringes worn for a concert in Las Vegas. “We didn’t want to simply imitate the clothes Priscilla wore, but to find a modern way to create a connection between today’s audience and her landmark style,” said Catherine Martin.

Priscilla Presley saw the movie and liked it

The film also received the approval of Priscilla Presley. Elvis’ ex-wife was one of the most significant and influential people in the artist’s life. The two married in 1967 and separated in 1973, but have always maintained a strong bond. Priscilla saw the film privately in April and shared on social media: “Baz Luhrmann organized a private screening for me and Jerry Schilling at Warner Bros Studios. It is a true story, told in a brilliant and creative way as only Baz, with his unique artistic style, could have done. Austin Butler is great. Halfway through the movie Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW !!! Bravo to him… The story, as we all know, did not have a happy ending. But I think you will understand Elvis’ journey a little better, told by a director who put his heart, soul and a lot of time into this film ”. Priscilla Presley was also present in Cannes. Luhrmann said the woman, who is 77, cried at the end of the film and told him, “If my husband was here today, he would say ‘Damn, it’s me.’ “It was the best review he’s ever had,” said the director, moved.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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