I have decided that my niche for Flixist will be complaining about they don’t make musicals like they used to these days. I assure you it’s not just because I’m a millennial with terrible taste in music (Hello the 3 people over 60 who read this site!) That’s also true, but I at least have some tangible points about why musicals today are booooooooring. Simply put, the movies are way too surface level and seem to be more of a greatest hits album with music videos and “struggles” put in as filler. There’s of course nothing wrong with that, dumb fun is great, but I think cultural landmarks these biopics are based on should try to elevate themselves a little. So thank goodness we’re getting a Zoey 101 character to play Elvis.
Variety reports after an extensive audition process with many top names vying for the role, director Baz Luhrmann has selected the lesser known Austin Butler to strut as Elvis. Butler has scored a pretty sweet gig, securing the main role in a film where he’ll be supported by workhorse/national treasure Tom Hanks who’s playing Elvis manager Col. Tom Parker. Luhrmann seemed pretty jazzed about selecting Butler, saying the young actor could “unequivocally… embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.” And I thought I liked musicals.
Butler must have some kind of spark, not only beating out contenders like Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller, but impressing upon Luhrmann. Baz is a showman of the highest caliber, meaning he thinks Butler will be able to not only match wits with Tom Hanks, but embody the truly larger than life insanity that was Elvis Presley. Now will he or Luhrmann or Hanks prevent this movie from being anymore rote and by the numbers as the most recent biopics? Probably not, if only because the King of Rock n’ Roll is too much a sure bet to print millions to allow any significant risks to be taken. But, and this is a big but, we’ll probably get fat Elvis, so there’s like a 50-50 chance of originality peeking through. If nothing else my aunt is guaranteed to love this movie, and subsequently Butler, so that’s good enough for me. The Elvis movie is set to start shooting early 2020.