Austin Butler is already known to those of certain age for his roles in Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Jonas, and Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. His stardom will soon go into the stratosphere, however, with the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. But the highly anticipated biopic could have looked quite different, as pop star Harry Styles was considered for the role.
Although Butler has had small roles in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Luhrmann didn’t know who he was until he got from a call from a certain Oscar-winning actor; “I got a call from Denzel Washington, who gave me a cold call. I did not know Denzel. And he said, ‘I’ve just worked with this guy on stage. I’ve never seen a work ethic like it.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I must see him.'” Luhrmann told EW.
However, before Butler came along, Luhrmann was considering Harry Styles, who is already internationally famous. “Harry is a really talented actor. I would work on something with him, [but] the real issue with Harry is – he’s Harry Styles. He’s already an icon,” Luhrmann told an Australian radio show recently.
Luhrmann continued; “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.”
It seems like the right call to have cast someone less well-known as someone as legendary as Elvis Presley. We will also have Ana de Armas’ take on Marilyn Monroe later this year in Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, and Rooney Mara will soon be playing Audrey Hepburn for Apple.
If you’re a fan of biopics, check out our guide to movies based on a true story.