Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is on the hunt for his Elvis Presley, and some mighty interesting names are surfacing as potential candidates to play The King of Rock and Roll. The currently untitled biopic will focus on the legendary music icon’s rise and zenith, putting a particular emphasis on his relationship with manager Col. Tom Parker, who will be played by Tom Hanks.
Per THR, Luhrmann and Warner Bros. have tested five actors to fill the role of Presley, all of whom are established stars. This includes Ansel Elgort, who shined bright in Baby Driver and is currently shooting Steven Spielberg’s musical West Side Story in the lead role; talented performer Miles Teller, who is coming off of filming Top Gun: Maverick in the role of Goose’s son and who at one point almost had the Ryan Gosling role in La La Land; dynamic performer Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who’s currently in production Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet and who showed off his musical talents as a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy; musician and The Shannara Chronicles star Austin Butler; and finally One Direction frontman Harry Styles, who made his impressive acting debut in Dunkirk.
The lead role is expected to be filled in the coming weeks, and while Luhrmann has been developing this movie for a while (we first reported his involvement in 2014!), there’s no doubt a new sense of urgency on the part of Warner Bros. due to the success of recent “famous musician biopics” like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.
Luhrmann is certainly an ambitious filmmaker, if not exactly a prolific one. After bursting onto the scene with Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and his Best Picture-nominted Moulin Rouge!, Luhrmann took a long break before trying his hand at the epic genre with the disappointing Australia. Five years later he returned with a dynamic, bombastic take on The Great Gatsby (which is actually quite good!), and most recently he’s been entrenched on the expensive, music-centric Netflix series The Get Down, which was cancelled after one season and suffered some production delays.
But as someone who’s always interested in whatever Luhrmann’s up to, I’m intrigued by the notion of him taking on The King. At the very least we know this won’t be a simple by-the-numbers biopic that skirts over anything that could be deemed controversial (see: Bohemian Rhapsody).
Expect more news on this front soon, but one imagines really any of these five aforementioned actors could do well in the Presley role. Though I’m personally most intrigued by what Taylor-Johnson could bring to the table here…