Baz Luhrrmann came to CinemaCon and brought the goods on his latest feature Elvis, which he says ” isn’t so much a biopic”.
The director said his Elvis covers three versions of the King of Rock: as a rebel, Hollywood star and his Vegas twilight; the singer being a mirror of America through different phases. Also Tom Hanks’ Colonel Tom Parker looms large as quite the force in Elvis’ life.
Similar to the soundtrack of the director’s The Great Gatsby which fused jazz with Jay-Z’s hiphop sensibility, there’s a similar music motif going on in Elvis.
In the footage we saw tonight, a hip hop version of the “Hound Dog” played.
The aorta of the footage shows Austin Butler’s Elvis being escorted by the cops to his concert. He’s told by the cops not to wiggle a finger.
“There’s a lot of people saying a lot of things…you gotta listen to yourself,” Elvis tells the stadium of teenagers.
“I will show you what the real Elvis is like tonight,” says the King before belting “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Says Parker, “In that moment, Elvis the man was sacrificed and Elvis the God was born!”
Before the clip rolled, Luhrmann spoke about growing up in a small country town where his father took over the cinema. “That movie in our house…you had to make it a hit,” Luhrmann said, speaking directly to the theater owners in the movie.
“If it means one person comes into a theater, I am there with you,” promised the director to the room to applause.
The Baz Luhrmann directed movie hits theaters on June 24.
“You know, I haven’t actually finished it,” confessed Luhrmann, “If it feels a little like a superhero film, it is. Elvis is kind of the original superhero. He rises so high, then finds his kryptonite and falls so low and then a beautiful, powerful tragedy ensues.”
“Man can’t live by Batman alone, we need to bring all audiences in the theater,” said the director.
Butler, who organically has the singer’s cadence, also put in an appearance on stage. “The main thing, I set out to find his humanity,” said the actor about his process, “He’s one of those individuals who reached up to an iconic status, he seems like superhuman.”
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