Newcomer Alton Mason To Play Little Richard In Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’

Alton Mason Little Richard
Alton Mason, Little Richard IMG Models; AP

EXCLUSIVE: Following a lengthy search, director Baz Luhrmann has tapped up-and-comer Alton Mason to play legendary musician Little Richard in Warner Bros’ Elvis

Sources tell Deadline that even as the film got back into production following suspension due to Covid-19, Luhrmann wanted to make sure he took his time in finding the right American actor to play the part of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll showman, who died last year.

Mason joins an ensemble that includes Austin Butler as Elvis Presley, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley. Luhrmann’s Elvis explores the life and music of the King, seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Parker. The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning more than 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.

Luhrmann directs from the current screenplay he co-wrote with Craig Pearce. He is also producing the film alongside Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, with Andrew Mittman executive producing.

The eldest of four children and raised in the Midwest, Mason moved to Los Angeles when he was 17 to study dance and theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Through celebrity choreographer Laurieanne Gibson, he soon was cast as a dancer for P Diddy at the BET Awards, quickly gaining attention for his unique look. He soon became a trailblazer in his own right: Mason was the first Black male model to walk for Chanel in the brand’s then-108-year history.

Most recently, Mason was named to this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and launched an impact campaign debuting his coming-of-age short film Rise in Light, which he wrote and starred in, that raised more than $10,000 for the Khan Foundation to bring relief efforts to Nigerian children and families affected by Covid. His short also features his upcoming single, “Gimme Gimme.”

Mason is repped by WME.

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