I don’t know who Austin Butler is and there’s a good chance you don’t either. But you’re about to because he just landed one hell of a gig.
Baz Luhrmann has cast Butler (The Carrie Diaries, Arrow, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood) as Elvis Presley in his long-in-development Elvis biopic. The film will ”delve into [Presley and Col. Tom Parker’s] complex dynamic spanning over 20 years, from Presley's rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America." Butler better start practicing his hip-shaking. He beat out a long list of other hopefuls including Harry Styles, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller.
Perhaps the better news coming from this production is that Tom Hanks has been cast as the aforementioned Col. Tom Parker, Elvis’s controlling manager. Parker will play a major part in the film and the casting of Hanks is cause for celebration. For one, he’s fantastic in damn near everything. Secondly, he loves rock n’ roll history. Thirdly, the idea of him being in a Luhrmann film is very exciting. We don’t know if this will be a film as bright, colorful and wild as Moulin Rouge! or Romeo + Juliet but I’m happy to see Hanks in any kind of Luhrmann movie.
There are few directors like Baz Luhrmann and few performers like Elvis. Elvis was eccentric and larger-than-life and all about performance and passion. That sounds a lot Luhrmann, doesn’t it? This is a pairing that just makes sense. It also promises a biopic unlike any other. This won’t be a by-the-numbers story of Elvis’s fame.
As for Butler, he definitely looks the part and will likely be training hard to get those dance moves down. I don’t know if you’re aware but there are many, MANY people who are still incredibly enthusiastic and possessive of Presley. If Butler is anything short of spectacular, he’ll be hearing about it from legions of elderly fans. If I’ve learned anything in my life it’s to not mess with Elvis or Beyoncé fans. Take note, Mr. Butler.