The director’s biopic about the king of rock’n’roll will be released in cinemas in the UK on June 24 and is simply called Elvis.
Speaking to The Times about the new movie – which stars Austin Butler in the titular role – Luhrmann observed that Elvis had “incredible style”. “Before people talked about [gender] fluidity, he had knitted bolero tank tops with his midriff hanging out, truck driver sideburns, make-up and dyed black hair,” he said. “He wore what would have been called, in the 19th century, dandy clothes.”
When Styles was mentioned to him as the modern version of that, the filmmaker replied: “I know Harry well. He sent me a video of him impersonating Elvis as a six-year-old. Harry embodies so much of Elvis. He has the nail polish, feather boa and sparkly jumpsuit. Yet he’s incredibly masculine. Mick Jagger? Same thing. But Elvis did it first, in terms of the white performers.”
The pop star had auditioned to play Elvis in the new film, but the director felt he wasn’t quite right for the role. “Harry is a really talented actor,” Luhrmann explained during a recent Australian radio interview. “I would work on something with him… but the real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles. He’s already an icon.”
He added: “Harry and I came to a place, genuinely I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore. He’s such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles.”
Elvis also stars Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley, Kelvin Harrison Jr as B.B. King, Alton Mason as Little Richard and more. The soundtrack, meanwhile, features contributions from the likes of Doja Cat, Måneskin, Eminem, Tame Impala and more.