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Image / Living / Culture

The first trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler is here and the resemblance is uncanny


By Sarah Finnan
18th Feb 2022
The first trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler is here and the resemblance is uncanny

Elvis has entered the building and actor Austin Butler puts in a killer performance as the undeniable king of rock and roll.

After long production delays as a result of the pandemic, things are back on track for Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis movie and we finally have the first trailer. Starring Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as Mr Elvis Presley himself, the actor shines as the charismatic king of rock and roll. 

Admitting that he feels an “incredible responsibility” stepping into such famous shoes, Butler said that he was worried it would be “impossible” to recreate the persona and “superhuman” status of such an icon. “When I began the process of this, I set out to get my voice to sound identical to his – that was my goal,” the actor noted. 

“If you heard a recording of me and you heard a recording of him you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

“I feel not only a responsibility to Elvis and his life [but]…his entire family and all the people around the world who love him so dearly. And I held that for a long time, and so what that does is it instils fear, so that got the fire burning within me to work and work and work. I had to live [his] life as truthfully as possible.”

“When I first started, it really felt like when you’re a kid, and you put on your father’s suit, and the sleeves are much too long, and the shoes are like boats on your feet. At the beginning, I thought, this is impossible. You know, how could I possibly do anything but feel like I’m less than this superhuman individual? And then as time passed, at least for me, I started to feel like I grew into it. And suddenly, I felt his humanity more,” he continued. 

Tom Hanks also features, taking on the role of Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker, who helped catapult him to meteoric fame. Following the young star all the way throughout his career, Parker was there from the very beginning and saw Elvis go from humble beginnings in Mississippi to international stardom in just a matter of years. He also played an instrumental part in the singer’s eventual downfall. 

Hanks’ voice rings out as narrator in the trailer, which shows Elvis in different stages of his life – from his poverty-stricken childhood to his early revolutionary songs, his film career, his army service and his famous comeback special. Set to the backdrop of the political unrest happening over in the US at that time, viewers are given a glimpse into the disillusionment that plagued America’s cultural landscape during the 1960s. 

Obviously a huge deal for Elvis fans, the movie also marks a major milestone for Luhrmann fans who haven’t gotten a feature film from the renowned director in almost a decade and The Great Gatsby was released in 2013. Laden with many of the Australian auteur’s signature eccentricities, the trailer is a heady mix of his signature style and features fast-paced camera cuts, extreme close-ups and bold costuming. Not to mention great music, though that’s a given here. 

Other names to feature in the film include Richard Roxburgh as Elvis’ father, Vernon, and Helen Thomson as his mother, Gladys. Olivia DeJonge plays Elvis’ wife Priscilla while David Wenham stars as Steve Binder, who directed Elvis’ infamous 1968 comeback special.

Now 45 years since the rockabilly king tragically passed away at the age of 42, his music continues to be as influential as ever and if the reaction to the trailer is anything to go by, the movie is sure to be a huge success. 

Elvis is not due for release until this summer on June 24 2022, but you can watch the trailer below in the meantime.