The casting drama has ended, with one actor emerging victorious to play Elvis on the big screen.
The 27-year-old has been cast in director Baz Luhrmann’s still-untitled Elvis Presley film, starring alongside Tom Hanks as controversial manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Butler beat out big names such as Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. His casting was announced Monday, after what Warner Bros. trumpets as an “extensive search.”
In the studio’s news release, Lurhamann says he knew “unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”
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Austin Butler will play Elvis Presley in a major screen project alongside Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. (Photo: GETTY/AP)
The director says he searched for an actor “to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” adding “I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right.”
The news sent Butler’s girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, “over the (expletive) moon,” she wrote in a NSFW Instagram post.
“I CANT WAIT ?????? SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!” Hudgens wrote.
Vanessa Hudgens, left, and Austin Butler arrive at a Golden Globes after-party in 2016. (Photo: MATT SAYLES/INVISION/AP)
Luhrmann was wowed by Butler’s role opposite Denzel Washington in last year’s Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh,” in which he played “lost boy” Don Parritt. The filmmaker then put the actor through a journey of “extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops.”
Butler stars as Tex alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (in theaters July 26). The young star can also be seen in director Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie “The Dead Don’t Die,” playing Jack one of the “hipsters from Cleveland.”
Jack’s inevitable death-by-zombies was not shown onscreen, but his devoured body was discovered.
For an actor playing Elvis Presley, Butler has already had a pivotal alien experience, discovering and fighting off an invasion as Jake Pearson in 2009’s “Aliens in the Attic.”
Butler’s first role was on “Hannah Montana,” where he played Toby in 2006, and then a different character, Derek Hanson, in 2007.
Filming for the Elvis movie will begin early next year in Queensland, Australia.
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