If you’re visionary director Baz Luhrmann – the talented gent that brought us such mind-altering films as William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby – and you have a biopic set to land into theatres worldwide in the coming months about rock and roll icon Elvis Presley, one of your chief concerns after presenting to audiences an enjoyable and appropriately epic romp would no doubt be in impressing the not easily impressed family, close friends and fans of the entertainer who singlehandedly altered the course of popular music for all time. According to our Blue Moon of Kentucky admirers over at The Hollywood Reporter, Luhrmann can at least put his mind at ease in leaving a favorable impression of his upcoming film Elvis on the Presley family, and considering the wide number of Hollywood productions in the past which have attempted to nail down the sideburns and the expert hip swiveling rock god and come up short, this is good news indeed.
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, scheduled to shake, rattle and roll into multiplexes worldwide on June 24, has received some advance praise from the family of Elvis Presley, specifically Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley. The film chronicles in epic fashion the rise of a Memphis truck driver in the early 1950s into the man who would become known as “the King of Rock and Roll” and follows him through the tumultuous eras of the 1960s and 1970s. Starring Austin Butler as Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis looks poised to make a huge splash on the movie scene this summer, which is all the more remarkable when one considers that computer animated family fare, gonzo action flicks and superhero movies all but rule the box office roost in this day and age.
Priscilla Presley, who was but a wee lass when her father shuffled off the mortal coil back in 1977, took to social media to praise Luhrmann and his film Elvis after attending no less than two previews: “Let me tell you that it is nothing short of spectacular. Absolutely exquisite. Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully…In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”
Lisa Marie Presley also took time out in praising the new film to remember her son Benjamin who passed away in 2020: “It breaks my heart that my son isn’t here to see it. He would have absolutely loved it as well.”
It’s not often that the families of departed rock and roll royalty see eye to eye on film adaptations of their loved one’s life (see, for example, The Buddy Holly Story). The seal of approval from the Presley’s bode well for this summer’s Elvis; stay tuned all of you rock hounds – We’ll have more news on Elvis as it rolls into us!