It was one of the events of the 75th Cannes Film Festival: the presentation of “Elvis” by Baz Luhrmann. The opportunity for spectators to discover the rock and crazy performance of Austin Butler, interpreter of the King.
Who better than Baz Luhrmann to liven up the Croisette? After making him dance in 1992, the year of the presentation of Ballroom Dancinghis first feature film, the Australian director was responsible for the opening fireworks twice: in 2001 with Red Mill !then in 2013 thanks to Gatsby the magnificent. Nine years later, he is back in the South of France with Elvisone of the most anticipated works of this edition.
After revisiting Romeo and Juliet then Gatsby à la sauce, Baz Luhrmann tackles a monument: Elvis Presley. Either the embodiment of cool and rock. A true icon who deserved a biopic in the image of the madness he generated when he swayed his hips on stage and shattered the shackles of puritan and segregationist America.
In a whirlwind of images, sounds and music, the star is presented to us as a superhero. And the story, told by his Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), his troubled and unreliable manager, parallels his career with the history of the United States, of which he was one of the catalysts during the 1950s and 1970s.
After Kurt Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers Where Michael ShannonElvis is played by Austin Butlerdiscovered in particular in the series The Carrie Diariesprequel to Sex & the CityWhere The Shannara Chronicles. Now 30, the American actor has triumphed overHarry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Aaron Taylor Johnson and Miles Teller to afford what could be the role of his life. And a third film at Cannes, after The Dead Don’t Die and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.
At the time, the stars were Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Adam Driver (at the house of Jim Jarmusch), Where brad pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio (in front of the camera Quentin Tarantino). This time he is the center of attention. Despite the presence of Tom Hanks and Baz Luhrmann’s love rating. Because we only see him on the screen. And it doesn’t take long to realize that we are witnessing something spectacular. As much as the movie.
If the make-up, hairstyle and costumes (signed Catherine Martin, the filmmaker’s usual production designer and costume designer) obviously help with the resemblance. But the actor was able to capture the timbre of the King’s voice and – above all – his physicality and his energy. On and off the concert stages. The result is simply stunning, so much so that we sometimes wonder if we are looking at archive images of the real Elvis, or plans reworked to give this impression.
“We were all lucky to have him as captain on film: he is passionate and hardworking, which makes him an awesome stage partner”told us Olivia DeJongeinterpreter of Priscilla Presley, in April. “One of my first great memories of filming was being able to attend one of his performances, and see him disappear behind the character as he sings and dances. It was amazing to watch, and it excited the whole set every time we were treated to one of those performances. He worked hard and for a very long time, for an incredible result. Watching him do it was magical.”
My body had started to shut down the day after I finished Elvis.
The result of long-term work and total investment on his part, this magic had brutal and unexpected consequences for the actor, who had to be hospitalized after the end of filming, when his body rebelled : “The next day I woke up in excruciating pain and was taken to hospital”he explains to QG. “My body had started to shut down the day after I finished Elvis.” More fear than harm on arrival, because it was “only” a virus that gives the same sensations as appendicitis.
Cast in July 2019, Austin Butler began filming in January 2020. But the shots, due to Covid, extended until March 2021. The actor therefore spent more than a year and a half in the skin of ‘Elvis, which may explain this violent decompression. Which is obviously only a distant memory for the actor, who captivated the Cannes Film Festival while waiting for the whole world to succumb to his performance.
It is obviously too early to talk about Oscar, but it would be surprising not to see who will be Feyd-Rautha in the second part of Dunes at least named next year. And maybe more. Do we take bets?