Baz Luhrmann is something of a marmite director, that you either love or hate, known for his extravagant style best exemplified in The Red Curtain Trilogy – which is made up of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge. His 2013 version of The Great Gatsby was particularly divisive, and it looks as though this year’s Elvis biopic will be no different.
Emerging star Austin Butler, who beat out more high-profile competition such as Harry Styles for the role of Elvis, has already spoken a few times about the lengths that he pushed himself to while preparing to play the icon. He became obsessive about only reading and listening to Elvis-related material for months on end, until Tom Hanks told him to snap out of it.
And Hanks is not the only mentor who offered Butler advice. Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jay Gatsby in the outrageous version of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, also offered the young actor some tips for working with Luhrmann.
Speaking to Jakes Takes, Butler said; “It’s terrifying. But I’ve said this before, I got to speak to Leo [DiCaprio] beforehand and he told me ‘Baz is going to keep you off balance, but it’s going to pull things out of you you never knew you had inside you.’ And that’s exactly what it was. He pushed me right to the edge of what I thought was possible. And I always knew that if I fell, he had me. That I was safe.”
Elvis has already prompted a mixed response from critics, like most of Lurhmann’s other films. But Butler has been singled out as a highlight of the biopic. It will be interesting to see where he goes next in his career.
If you’re a fan of biopics, check out our guide to movies based on a true story.