Let’s Rock: Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS Is Here

Let’s Rock: Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS Is Here
Contributor: Zachariah Kelly and Stephanie Nuzzo

ELVIS has entered the building. Baz Luhrmann is back at it again in 2022 with his next movie, ELVIS, in cinemas now.

It’s a colourful, music-filled feature about the titular rocker and I can’t wait.

Here’s what we know about Baz Luhrmann’s next epic, ELVIS. Let’s rock.

First, the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS

“I watched that skinny boy transform into a superhero.”

Focusing on Elvis’ life from a young boy to the rocker who changed music in America, ELVIS looks like it’ll be a glossy, colourful and music-driven epic.

Baz Luhrmann has always been one to bring a banger soundtrack into a film (please, if you haven’t, go watch Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and The Great Gatsby) so to see him do a movie about someone as big and influential as Elvis is incredible.

Also, just on a fun note, the film was mostly shot in Queensland. That’s kind of cool.

The second trailer for the film was dropped on May 24 and it proudly boasts:

“I’m gonna show you what the real Elvis is like tonight.”

If you need more convincing you can catch one more trailer for the film below.

What is the film about?

Elvis movie 2022
Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, ELVIS. Credit: Warner Bros.

Set to be a retelling of a true story in the same vein as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, ELVIS focuses on the life and times of the king of rock. The trailer brings up some pretty big events that occurred during Elvis’ life, such as the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr., so we can expect a good portion of this film to be about things that changed the United States, too.

And, well, why wouldn’t it be? You can’t talk about Elvis, someone as groundbreaking, norm challenging, hip-swinging and rock-performing without talking about the changing world around him.

Much of Elvis’ music and inspiration comes from Black roots, so yeah, it’d be wrong to tell the story of Elvis without talking about the context of the world around him.

The perspective of the film will come through his complicated relationship with Colonel Tom Parker, his manager of more than 20 years.

The synopsis for ELVIS reads as follows:

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

Who is in the cast lineup?

Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming film and Tom Hanks has stepped into the role of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager. Butler appears to have Elvis’ voice and mannerisms down; sounding and looking almost exactly like the king himself.

baz luhrmann elvis
Austin Butler on the left and Elvis Presley on the right. Image: Warner Bros. and MGM.

Olivia DeJonge plays Priscilla Presley (Elvis’ wife) and Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Jimmie Rodgers.

Additionally, David Wenham portrays Hank Snow, Dacre Montgomery plays Steve Binder, Luke Bracey plays Jerry Schilling, Richard Roxburg plays Vernon Presley and Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays B.B. King.

You can check out our chat with cast members Austin Butler and Olivia DeJonge here.

Is the film any good?

Since its world premiere at Cannes (at which the film received a 12-minute standing ovation), the reviews for ELVIS have started to flow in. Though some have been disappointed with the show ELVIS puts on, overall it’s been receiving positive praise.

Coming in at 83 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, you could say it has people all shook up. And we tend to agree. The film is everything you’d expect from a Baz Lurhmann take on Elvis Presley’s story. It’s glamorous, entertaining and a little bit heartbreaking, too.

Oh, and Austin Butler fully embodies the King – it’s incredible.

How about the music in ELVIS?

As you’d expect from any Baz Luhrmann film, the music in ELVIS is epic. It doesn’t seem as though an official soundtrack has dropped yet on Spotify, but it’ll be one to watch out for. I mean, look at this line-up.

In the interim, here are some Elvis tunes to tide you over.

Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS release date

Elvis movie baz luhrmann
ELVIS movie. Credit: Warner Bros.

Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS will rock into theatres in Australia on June 23, 2022.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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