Baz Luhrmann Finds His Priscilla in Elvis Presley Biopic

     October 25, 2019

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Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has just found its Priscilla, says Variety. Aussie actress Olivia DeJonge will play Priscilla Presley opposite Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), who will play the King. The cast also boasts Tom Hanks as Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker in a story centering on the relationship between the iconic singer and his manager, as we reported back in July.

DeJong is best known for her roles on Netflix’s The Society, whose second season will premiere in 2020, and M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 horror-thriller The Visit. The still-untitled Elvis biopic is not due for release until October 1, 2021.

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Image via Warner Bros.

A recent spate of musical biographies have likely inspired this one, as well as the Aretha Franklin film—Respect—and another on “As Tears Go By” singer Marianne Faithfull, which we reported on yesterday. But Elvis is perhaps the loftiest musical territory yet. The presence of Hanks, combined with Luhrmann’s flamboyant style, ensures a broad appeal for this project, which could result in a breakout role for DeJonge.

Said Luhrmann of DeJonge’s talent:

“Olivia is capable of manifesting the complex depth and presence that has made Priscilla Presley an icon in her own right. She’s an extremely talented young actor and the perfect counterpoint to Austin’s Elvis.”

It was 1959 when Priscilla first met Elvis in Germany. She was only 14 at the time. Their relationship would develop from that point, despite a 10-year age gap. They were engaged in 1966 and married the following year. However, the marriage only lasted until 1973.

The project was written by Luhrmann and his longtime collaborator Craig Pearce, who penned Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliette, Moulin Rouge!, and The Great Gatsby for the director. It will be Luhrmann’s first feature project since Gatsby, though he helmed an episode of The Get Down in 2016, a series he also co-created.

Production is scheduled to begin in early 2020 in Luhrmann’s native Australia, where he also filmed Gatsby, proving the country can play the U.S., with a healthy dose of green screen and digital effects of course.

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