When Baz Luhrmann set out to create an Elvis Presley biopic in 2014, he knew he had a tough task ahead of him. To accurately and respectfully depict the iconic life of Elvis would not only require a great deal of care and preparation but he would also need the blessing of the remaining members of the Presley family.
It turns out Luhrmann had nothing to worry about, however, as Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, and Elvis’ granddaughter, Riley Keough, have been proponents of the movie from day one. In addition to giving Elvis star Austin Butler her blessing in person, Priscilla Presley has praised the film at every opportunity.
Each member of the family was given the opportunity to watch the film ahead of its premiere, and each gave it a glowing review. Nothing, however, could prepare the Presley family for the premiere of Elvis at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week.
The audience loved the movie just as much as Priscilla Presley and her family, giving Elvis an astounding 12-minute standing ovation. This overwhelmingly positive reaction to the late patriarch caused the entire Presley family to be overcome with emotion.
Riley Keough, who sadly never met her grandfather Elvis, told Variety that she was crying within the first five minutes of the film. “I could feel how much work Baz and Austin put into trying to get it right,” Keough explained. “That made me emotional immediately…I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence. Austin captured that so beautifully.”
Austin Butler Explains Pressure He Felt Playing The King in Elvis Movie
Director Baz Luhrmann wasn’t the only member of the crew who felt that perfection was paramount for Elvis. Austin Butler, the actor behind Elvis Presley in the film, explained that he felt a responsibility to create a positive addition to the Elvis Presley legacy.
“When I began the process, I set out to get my voice to be identical,” Butler told The Hollywood Reporter. “That instill fear. So that got the fire burning. For a year before we started shooting, I was doing voice coaching. I watched as much [Elvis footage] as I could, over and over. I feel such a responsibility to Elvis and to Priscilla and Lisa Maria. And all the people around the world who love him so much.”
“I set out to make my voice identical to his,” the Elvis star added in an interview with The AU Review. “That was my goal, that if you heard a recording of him and heard a recording of me, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I held that for a long time. I think maybe a year before we started shooting it was six-to-seven days a week of voice coaching and working with the right experts and getting my register in the right place.”
“Ultimately, the life is what was most important. You can emulate somebody, but to find the humanity within, the passion… Ultimately I had to release myself from the restraints of that and try to live the life as truthfully as possible.”