Baz Luhrmann: Priscilla Presley Was Initially 'Cynical' About Austin Butler As Elvis

Chisom Ndianefo
Close-up shot of Priscilla Presley
Getty | Gerardo Mora

Austin Butler received praise for his portrayal of the late King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, in the Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic, Elvis. However, Priscilla Presley had some reservations about Austin Butler, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in the biopic Elvis.

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Taking A Trip Through Memory Lane

Luhrmann recalled the pre-production stage of his directorial project in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. He admitted,

"I was not gonna make the film unless I found someone who could play Elvis," he recalled of the pre-production process. "I didn't really think I could."

Luhrmann Recalls His Nerve-Wrecking Experience With Priscilla Presley

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
Giphy | Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Movie

Austin Butler, who dedicated himself to mastering The King of rock's songs, demeanor, and iconic voice, brought everything together.

Luhrmann claimed that the first time he watched the movie with Priscilla was the most "nerve-wracking" viewing of his entire career.

Why Priscilla Was Cynical About Austin Casting As Elvis

Priscilla, Lisa Marie and Riley Keough at Elvis premiere
Flickr | noora.luukka03
"Priscilla was quite cynical about how this young kid could, in fact, manifest her husband,"

He recalled, adding that the family has experienced its fair share of "disappointments" about how Elvis has been portrayed on screen.

"I remember Priscilla said, 'I know I was hard on you,' she wrote me an email... She said, 'Every wink, every move, if my husband were here, he would say, 'Hot damn, you are me!'"

Priscilla Was Impressed At The End

Undoubtedly, the result made Priscilla proud, as she didn't expect Austin to embody Elvis as much as he did. According to Baz Luhrmann to ET;

"She said, 'How did he know about Elvis' rage, his stillness, his inner life, his complex inner life?'" he added. "Because that's not out there. That's not in a biography."

Butler Deserves Accolades

In the end, according to Luhrmann, Butler deserves every accolade he has so far received.

"I think you can't overstate the level of acting achievement for Austin Butler," he raved. "I've been around it a long time and even I'm a bit mystified by what he achieved -- and I was there!"

On Getting An Oscar Nomination

Last month, the Actor received his first-ever Oscar nomination. Butler has been overly gracious in his appreciation of the Presley family this award season, and he paid special tribute to Lisa Marie, who passed away on January 12 at 54 — less than two weeks before the nominations were made public.

About The Biopic

Elvis Presley's life is chronicled in the film, from his early years as a child living in poverty to his later years as the well-known and adored icon of popular culture. The story arc also sheds light on his tumultuous relationship with Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), his manager, and the challenges he faces as his reputation soars.

How Baz Luhrmann Has Always Wanted to Work On The Elvis Biopic

Baz Luhrmann, best known for his work on The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge!, revealed in 2014 that his upcoming project would be an Elvis Presley biopic. However, Austin Butler was not cast as Elvis until March 2019, the same month the official Elvis project was revealed.

How Austin Won Baz Luhrmann Over

Austin Butler
Flickr | constance.vincent17

Butler reportedly outperformed other well-known actors, including Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles, and Miles Teller, in the casting process. Butler supposedly won Luhrmann's affection with his emotional rendition of Unchained Melody in a dressing gown for his video audition.