‘Elvis’ Director Baz Luhrmann Jokingly Compares Elvis Presley Musical to ‘Apocalypse Now’

by Joe Rutland

Director Baz Luhrmann is taking on the iconic life of Elvis Presley in his upcoming movie that’s simply called Elvis. In his eyes, though, Lurhmann is comparing this to an iconic 1980s film. He looks at one segment of Presley’s life from the 1970s and considers it worthy of almost being called Apocalypse Now. That movie starred Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando in quite interesting roles.

“His life fits beautifully into three acts,” Luhrmann tells Entertainment Weekly. “There’s Elvis the punk, if you like, the original punk rocker, the rebel. Then there’s Elvis the movie man, and that’s when he is pop and family-friendly. And then there’s ’70s Elvis, which is epic. The Apocalypse Now of musicals is what I’ve joked about calling the movie — and that’s the ’70s period. It’s so sprawling and it’s beautiful, but it’s powerful. It’s a three-act pop-cultural opera.”

Austin Butler Gets Raves From Priscilla Presley About Elvis Presley Performance

Actor Austin Butler is taking on the Presley role. His work is getting raves from a very important person in the story of Elvis that is Priscilla Presley. She praises Butler’s performance. “For those curious about the new film ELVIS, Baz Luhrmann, the director, provided a private screening for me and Jerry Schilling at Warner Studios recently,” she writes in a Facebook post. “This story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker’s relationship. It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered.”

Tom Hanks plays Parker in the movie. The Colonel, who really wasn’t a Colonel nor a Parker in real life, would play a dominant role in Presley’s life from the start of his career up to his death in 1977.

Widow of Colonel Tom Parker Did Give Choice of Hanks Her Blessing

Parker’s widow actually did give the Hanks selection her blessing before she died in 2020. Loanne Parker said in an interview with TMZ that “I would like to talk to him about the trust that was in that relationship, about the truth in the management, which was that Colonel never took advantage of Elvis.” She adds that each story has a hero and villain with past stories making Elvis the hero and Parker the villain.

“And both of them were heroes, each in their own right,” she said. “They each made history in their own way. I would like to see that clarified. I’d like to see the truth there.” Lurhmann, in another interview, offers high praise for both Hanks and Butler. “Everyone just dug in deep,” Lurhmann said according to an interview in The Express. “I think they were just aware of the privilege of being able to actually make something.”