New Elvis movie cast, release date, trailer – and everything else to get you all shook up

AUSTIN BUTLER as Elvis in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “ELVIS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The King lives in director Baz Luhrmann’s new Elvis Presley movie.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Elvis biopic that stars Tom Hanks and retells the rollercoaster tale of the world’s greatest music icon.

Elvis release date: June 24th

So there's a new Elvis movie coming out?

Uh-huh-huh. If you’re a King fan, you’ll already know that Elvis Presley starred in a hefty filmography of his own, from 1957’s Jailhouse Rock to 1964’s Viva Las Vegas. The singer has been represented onscreen many times, too, from the Elvis impersonator at the Pulp Fiction diner to the ghost who coached Christian Slater during bathroom breaks in True Romance.

Shortly after the singer left the building for good in 1977, Kurt Russell stepped into his white rhinestone jumpsuit for John Carpenter’s original Elvis biopic. Now, with Australian director Baz Luhrmann promising us a spectacle on the epic scale of his 2001 showstopper Moulin Rouge!, Elvis 2022 should be far more than alright, mama.

Why is a new Elvis biopic such a big deal?

The Elvis story is a rollercoaster of ambition, ego, genius, madness, era-defining highs and bloated, pill-popping lows. And by exploring the man, Baz Luhrmann told The AU Review, he was also able to give a wider snapshot of post-war America.

“Truth is, in this modern era, the life of Elvis Presley could not be a better canvas on which to explore America in the ’50s, the '60s and the ’70s. It’s a mythical life that he lived. That’s what drew me in.”

Right now, with smash hits like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man setting the bar, we’re living through a golden age of the rock ‘n’ roll biopic. And anything Elton John and Freddie Mercury can do, Elvis can do too, baby.

 


What happens in the Elvis Presley movie?

Luhrmann’s new Elvis biopic traces the star’s road from cradle to grave, amplifying every moment that matters, for better and worse. We meet the poor kid from Tupelo, Mississippi, who is too shy to sing in public. We watch the explosive rise to fame and the youth-corrupting hip shake that ensured Presley’s 1957 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show either seduced or scandalised America (depending on your age).

We see the brutal price of stardom, too, as Elvis finds himself middle-aged and written off as a relic by the rock ‘n’ roll movement he helped create. “I’m gonna be forty soon,” he says. “And nobody’s gonna remember me.”

Austin Butler and Olivia DeJonge as Elvis and Priscilla Presley

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Who does Tom Hanks play in the Elvis Presley movie?

As all serious King fans know, Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker was pivotal in both the star’s rise and unravelling. Today, the rock ‘n’ roll history books have largely cast Parker as a shadowy and exploitative figure – he took 50% of the King’s royalties, effectively enslaved his star by making him sign blank contracts, and was linked to (but never convicted of) a murder in his native Holland.

Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis 2022

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Parker’s tattered reputation is a point that Luhrmann obviously wants to explore in the new Elvis movie. After all, as Tom Hanks’ opening voiceover in the Elvis trailer tells us: “There are some who make me out to be the villain of this here story.”

The creatives behind the Elvis biopic have a more subtle take on the Colonel, though. Luhrmann remembers that Hanks “really ran towards” the role of Parker, and insists that calling the manager a villain “is too easy a way to wrap it up”.

As for Tom Hanks, he described Parker to The Hollywood Reporter as “both a genius and a scoundrel. He was a very disciplined man, but also a guy who you might want to check your wallet to make sure you still have all those fives and tens.”

 


Who plays Elvis in the new movie?

A professional actor from the age of 13, California-born Austin Butler has made his mark on TV shows like The Shannara Chronicles. But while you might remember the 30-year-old as Manson Family killer Tex Watson in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, he’s flown low enough under the radar to be the perfect lead for the Elvis Presley movie.

AUSTIN BUTLER as Elvis in the new Elvis biopic 2022

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Biology is on Butler’s side. He’s got the gravity-defying raven hair, piercing eyes and snake hips that recall a young Presley at full throttle. But with bigger names like Harry Styles and Ansel Elgort also reportedly in the frame for the Elvis gig, the Californian had to dig into his dramatic toolkit and prove himself to Luhrmann.

“Being picked to play Elvis was one of the greatest wake-up calls of my life, for sure,” Butler told Access. But the audition process wasn’t easy, he added.

“It was months and months of singing and moving and speaking for hours and hours about character. The first time we sat down, [Baz Luhrmann and I] talked for three hours. It was a series of extensive explorations.”

 


Who sings the songs in the new Elvis movie?

That’s the best part. Perhaps inspired by Taron Egerton’s vocal performances as Elton John in Rocket Man, Austin Butler has picked up the gauntlet and sings the King’s catalogue himself in the new Elvis movie.

Tough gig. Presley had a three-octave vocal range and one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most distinctive tones, able to switch from the honeyed croon of Heartbreak Hotel to the torn and frayed holler of Jailhouse Rock.

Elvis with fans in the new Elvis biopic 2022

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

But when you watch the Elvis Presley movie, you’ll agree that Butler knocks it out of the park, with a note-perfect performance that feels so much more vital and alive than if he’d simply mimed to the original recordings. 

"When I began the process, I set out to get my voice to be identical,” Butler told The Hollywood Reporter.

“That instils fear. So that got the fire burning. For a year before we started shooting, I was doing voice coaching. I watched as much as I could, over and over. I feel such a responsibility to Elvis and all the people around the world who love him so much.”

Austin Butler and Tom Hanks as Elvis Presley and Colonel Tom Parker

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

What is the Elvis release date – and why should I see it at ODEON?

The Elvis release date is June 24th – and this is definitely one for the cinema. If you’ve seen Baz Luhrmann’s epic movies over the years – from Romeo + Juliet to The Great Gatsby – you’ll know the Australian is a director who paints best on the biggest canvases.  

When you factor in the King-sized Elvis story – with its high, lows and a rumbling rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack that demands surround sound – ODEON is the only option. Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has entered the building…

 


 

Elvis is released June 24th

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