First Glance: “Elvis”

Baz Luhrmann is a filmmaker with a style all his own. Over the years it’s a style that has earned him as much criticism as praise. Personally, Luhrmann’s handful of films have been a struggle for me which is why I wasn’t sure about him doing a movie on Elvis Presley. Yet here we are with the trailer for a film first announced in 2014, officially green-lit in 2019, started shooting in 2020, and wrapped up in 2021. This first detailed look gives us a lot to chew on. And I have to admit, it has me more interested in this movie than I was before.

Austin Butler gets the duty of playing Elvis Presley. And while there are moments of resemblance, there are also times where he looks more like John Travolta, Val Kilmer, or Ray Liotta. We get a glimpse of Presley’s childhood, but the film mostly chronicles his monumental rise from struggling act to a rock-and-roll legend. Tom Hanks gets a meaty role playing Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge plays Priscilla Presley. The film also features Luke Bracey, Yola Quartey, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Dacre Montgomery, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, among others. I have no idea how this will turn out. But if Luhrmann’s style can be present but in-check, this could be pretty good.

“Elvis” opens in theaters June 24th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

8 thoughts on “First Glance: “Elvis”

  1. I just watched this on the big TV and… it definitely looks like a Baz Luhrmann film in every way (and I’m a fan of his work). Still, I am intrigued as I know it could be great or it could go into Walk Hard territory. I doubt it will be as good as the 1979 TV movie by John Carpenter with Kurt Russell in the role. That’s a film that I think more people should see not just because it’s a well-made bio-pic but it really marks the beginning of the one of the greatest collaborations in cinema.

    The other major plus is that I doubt anyone could play Elvis better than Kurt Russell did though he had an unfair advantage to everyone else who had since played the King. One of Kurt’s first movies was with Elvis in It Happened at the World’s Fair where Kurt played a kid whom Elvis paid to kick him in the shins to win over a nurse. There’s a video about that on YouTube for TCM where Kurt talked about his brief time with the King and how his recollections with the King just added an extra amount of authenticity to his performance in the 1979 TV movie and of course, the highly-underrated action film 3000 Miles to Graceland where Russell brought the King back.

    And of course, you gotta remember one thing. There’s only 2 kinds of people… that know karate…. the Chinese…. and the King…. LOOK OUT MAN!!!! Hey ‘Cilla! Could you make me some of the fried peanut butter and ‘nana sandwiches? Thank you, thank you very much.

      • On that video, Kurt mentioned that when his father Bing was picking him up from the set. Elvis saw Bing and became starstruck because Bing was a character actor on many westerns and asked Bing if he could wear a cowboy hat like Bing if he ever did a western. That is fucking cool. You gotta love the King.

        And I really think that January 8 should be an international holiday! To celebrate the b-days of the King, Dr. Stephen Hawkings, and… David Bowie.

  2. I’ll see it at some point not likely at the theater. I like the guy they chose to play Elvis. He has that burning intensity Elvis had. I liked that guy as Tex in Once Upon at Time…

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