Director Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its king of rock and roll in actor Austin Butler.
The 27-year-old star has been cast as the cultural icon in Luhrmann’s as-yet untitled film after a particularly competitive process, beating out Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles for the role, Deadline reports.
The biopic, with a script by Craig Pearce, will reportedly chronicle Presley’s rise to superstardom “against an evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America,” per Deadline. It will also explore the singer’s relationship with legendary and controversial manager Col. Tom Parker.
Tom Hanks is already on board to play Parker in the Warner Bros. film, which is set to begin production in Queensland, Australia, early next year.
In a statement about Butler’s casting, Luhrmann said he took great pains to find the right actor to fill Presley’s shoes.
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” the “Moulin Rouge” director said.
“Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent,” he continued, adding that he was particularly impressed by Butler’s performance in the recent Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic “The Iceman Cometh.”
“Through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures,” Luhrmann said.
Butler, who bounced around various Nickelodeon and Disney Channel series early in his career, landed his breakout role in The CW’s “Sex and the City” prequel series, “The Carrie Diaries.”
The actor, who’s been dating actress Vanessa Hudgens for nearly a decade, has since appeared in series like “Arrow” and “The Shannara Chronicles” and can next be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”