The King of Rock 'n' Roll honors Cannes: At this year's edition of the film festival, the biopic "Elvis" celebrated its world premiere. The film, which runs out of competition, received the longest round of applause so far at this festival. And he pushed the main actor to his limits.
At the 2022 Cannes Film Festival (until May 28), the biopic "Elvis" by director Baz Luhrmanns celebrated its world premiere, which was also eagerly awaited by the music world. The film tells the musician's story from the perspective of his manager Tom Parker - played by Oscar winner Tom Hanks.
The drama shows how a nondescript young musician from Tupelo, Mississippi, became the king of rock 'n' roll. The phenomenon that, with his music and, last but not least, his swinging hips, caused both fans to cheer and moral guardians to controversy. Elvis Presley is portrayed in the film by 30-year-old Austin Butler, known for his roles in "The Carrie Diaries" and most recently in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood".
The shooting of the film apparently took a lot out of Butler. Speaking to men's magazine GQ, the Presley actor revealed he was hospitalized just hours after filming wrapped last year. Butler was so devoted to the role that his body no longer played along. Work on the film was completed in March 2021. "The next day I woke up at 4am in excruciating pain and was rushed to the hospital," he explained. Accordingly, he caught a virus whose symptoms are similar to appendicitis. He was bedridden for a week. His body was simply "shut down".
"I basically stopped my life for two years," he said of the grueling shooting on Thursday. He meticulously studied Presley's appearance during this time. "I had this unrealistic expectation that if I worked hard enough, my face could become identical to Elvis's, that my eyes would look exactly like his and you wouldn't see any difference. But eventually I realized: It would be like going to a wax museum. What's really important is that your soul comes out."
In addition to Butler, superstar Tom Hanks can also be seen in "Elvis". He embodies music manager Tom Parker, Elvis' notorious discoverer. A greedy man who over-extracts himself from Presley's financial gains. This describes Elvis as a "fairground attraction" and prevents the singer from giving concerts abroad - because Parker himself was not allowed to leave the USA because of a false identity that he had assumed.
But Parker wasn't just a villain, Hanks said. "He was a man who saw an opportunity to turn a once-in-a-lifetime talent into a cultural force." The variety of ways Parker has scammed people out of money is extraordinary. "By the way, I've incorporated a few of these ways into my own daily routine," Hanks joked. "You learn a little bit from every role."
Luhrmann stages the life of the music icon in dizzying images. Many live Elvis performances have moviegoers bouncing in their seats to songs like "Hound Dog." With glaring scene changes or split screens, the film imitates Presley's feverish life. It was the director's first feature film since his 2013 remake of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.
In addition to the director, butler and "Elvis" colleagues such as Tom Hanks and Olivia DeJonge, Elvis' ex-wife Priscilla Presley was also present on the red carpet. She had already seen the film in advance and raved about leading actor Butler, among other things. She praised him on Facebook at the end of April and explained that he had "excellently" embodied Elvis.
"This is her life," said Luhrmann on Thursday. After the premiere on Wednesday evening, she visibly moved her arms around the director. "No criticism, no review would ever mean more to us than that of the woman who was married to Elvis Presley." Luhrmann said that he had therefore been awaiting her verdict with great impatience. When Presley's family finally made it clear to him that the film adaptation of Elvis' life "shows the truth about him as a person", for the director it was "the best criticism I have ever received in my life". Priscilla and Elvis were married from 1967 to 1973.
"Elvis," which runs out of competition in Cannes, received the longest round of applause from a premiere at this year's festival. About a month after its world premiere, the film will also be shown regularly in cinemas. The German launch date is June 23, 2022.