Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming musical drama “Elvis” has added several prominent Australian actors to its cast. Richard Roxburgh, Helen Thomson, David Wenham, and Dacre Montgomery have joined an ensemble that includes the previously announced Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Olivia DeJonge.
Roxburgh, who worked with Luhrmann on “Moulin Rouge!,” will portray Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley. Rufus Sewell, who was initially cast in the role, had to drop out when production was delayed due to coronavirus. Thomson, an award-winning theater actress who also appeared in “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” plays Elvis’s mother, Gladys Presley. She replaces Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was originally signed to play the role, but had to leave the project due to other commitments when shooting was put on hold last spring.
Wenham (“The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, ) plays Hank Snow and Montgomery (“Stranger Things”), plays TV director Steve Binder. Also joining the cast are Natasha Bassett (“Hail, Caesar!”), Xavier Samuel (“Adore”), Leon Ford (TV’s “Gallipoli,” TV’s “The Pacific”), Kate Mulvany (TV’s “Hunters”), Gareth Davies (“Peter Rabbit,”) Charles Grounds (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Josh McConville (“Fantasy Island”), and Adam Dunn (TV’s “Home and Away”).
“Elvis was surrounded by an extraordinary array of rich personalities, and we are very fortunate to pull together a tremendous ensemble to tell this story,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “It’s exciting to unite some of Australia’s finest actors, from longtime collaborators from ‘Moulin Rouge!,’ ‘Australia’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ like Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham and Kate Mulvany, to exciting new faces such as Dacre Montgomery, Helen Thomson, Luke Bracey, Natasha Bassett and many more. With the world as it is right now, our entire company is grateful that we can join together in this creative venture to bring employment and opportunity in front of and behind the camera, and to the community at large.”
“Elvis” explores the life and music of Evlis Presley (Butler) through his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). It was a partnership that spanned 20 years, as Presley’s rise to unprecedented stardom contributed to America’s evolving cultural landscape. Central to that journey is Elvis’s love affair with Priscilla Presley (DeJonge).
Luhrmann directs from a screenplay co-written by Craig Pearce. The filmmaker is also producing the film, alongside Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, with Andrew Mittman executive producing.
The creative team includes many artists who have worked with Luhrmann in the past. That includes director of photography Mandy Walker (“Australia”), Oscar-winning production designer and costume designer Catherine Martin (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”), editors Matt Villa (“The Great Gatsby,” “Australia”) and Jonathan Redmond (“The Great Gatsby”) and composer Elliott Wheeler (“The Get Down”).
Principal photography on “Elvis” is taking place in Queensland, Australia. Shooting was originally supposed to begin last spring, but halted when the pandemic spread and Hanks contracted COVID-19. Warner Bros. is releasing the picture, having previously worked with Luhrmann on “The Great Gatsby.”