Baz Luhrmann was days away from shooting Elvis Presley biopic when production shut down

Baz Luhrmann was four days away from shooting his Elvis Presley biopic when production shut down after Tom Hanks tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. The Oscar-winning actor was in Australia with his wife Rita Wilson preparing to start filming Elvi…

Baz Luhrmann was four days away from shooting his Elvis Presley biopic when production shut down after Tom Hanks tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

The Oscar-winning actor was in Australia with his wife Rita Wilson preparing to start filming Elvis, in which he plays the rock ‘n’ roll star’s longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker, when they both tested positive for the virus in March and were quarantined in hospital.

In an interview with Deadline, Elvis director Luhrmann revealed that the team, including Austin Butler as Presley, had been in rehearsals when the tests came back positive and they shut down immediately that day, only four days away from shooting.

“I was four days out from shooting. I had built the Vegas showroom, the International which became the Hilton, and you know that famous scene where Elvis is playing that showroom?” he explained, referring to when Presley was mobbed and kissed by dozens of fans. “We were rehearsing camera positioning, everything, and I’d done all the tests, Austin, Tom, and the whole cast was on fire. We were that close.”

The Moulin Rouge! filmmaker revealed they were in the middle of rehearsing that scene when his producer came in to tell him about Hanks.

“So, I’m getting ready to begin shooting on a Monday, and I’m rehearsing the scene where we’ve built the Vegas showroom, and Tom guides in Austin as Elvis, and it’s a scene where basically hundreds of girls are kissing Elvis, in a ’70s show,” Luhrmann recalled. “Tom guides him through the crowd. All of a sudden, I see my producer, Patrick McCormick on the set… You and the world knows what happened next.”

The crew used the footage to help track down anyone who had been in contact with Hanks and they all had to quarantine for 14 days. They were tested and it turned out “we never had one more infection in the entire crew”.

Hanks and Wilson are now recovered from the virus and are back home in the U.S. They have donated some blood to help create a vaccine.

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Baz Luhrmann determined to resume production on Elvis biopic ‘as soon as the time is right’

Baz Luhrmann is determined to resume production on his Elvis Presley biopic “as soon as the time is right”.Filming on the highly-anticipated movie shut down in Australia after leading man Tom Hanks, who plays the music icon’s manager Colonel Tom Parker…

Baz Luhrmann is determined to resume production on his Elvis Presley biopic “as soon as the time is right”.

Filming on the highly-anticipated movie shut down in Australia after leading man Tom Hanks, who plays the music icon’s manager Colonel Tom Parker in the flick, was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The Oscar-winning actor is now recovering in an Australian hotel, alongside wife Rita Wilson, who also has the virus, but director Baz has refused to re-open the set, with him telling fans that it is “not the moment to be resuming production on the film”.

“Please know this is in no way a reflection on our commitment to make this movie here in Queensland. In fact, we are not even taking our sets down, simply locking up the creative space over the next few days,” he explained in a statement shared on social media. “All going well, we have a passionate conviction to be back here on the Gold Coast, picking up where we leave off as soon as the time is right.”

It’s not yet known if the October 2021 release date of the biopic, which is set to focus on Presley, played by Austin Butler, and his relationship with his manager, will be affected.

Many films have halted production or had their release date postponed to the Covid-19 outbreak. On Thursday, it was announced that animated sequel Minions: The Rise Of Gru would no longer be released in July due to the pandemic.

Chris Meledandri, founder and chief executive of film and animation studio Illumination, said that in response to the strict lockdown imposed on the country, he would be closing the studios indefinitely.

“This means we will be unable to finish Minions: The Rise Of Gru in time for our planned global releases,” he said in a statement.

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Elvis Presley biopic halted following Tom Hanks’ coronavirus diagnosis

Production on Tom Hanks’ upcoming Elvis Presley movie has been halted after the actor and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus.The 63-year-old took to social media on Thursday to tell fans that he and Rita were in isolation in Austr…

Production on Tom Hanks’ upcoming Elvis Presley movie has been halted after the actor and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 63-year-old took to social media on Thursday to tell fans that he and Rita were in isolation in Australia, upon the advice of medical officials.

“Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches,” he wrote on Twitter and Instagram. “Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.”

The Oscar winner was in Australia for pre-production on director Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film about Elvis, in which Tom is set to star as the rocker’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

However, following Tom and Rita’s diagnosis, production on the movie has come to a temporary halt.

“We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production in The Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus),” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. “We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual. The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and we are taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently receiving treatment.”

It’s unclear at this stage whether Tom’s co-stars, including Austin Butler, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell, have been tested for the virus.

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Claire Danes: ‘People still talk about my 2016 Met Gala dress’

Claire Danes is still asked about her 2016 Met Gala dress almost four years after she wore it. The Homeland actress hit headlines when she stepped out onto the red carpet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual fundraiser in a strapless light-up Za…

Claire Danes is still asked about her 2016 Met Gala dress almost four years after she wore it.

The Homeland actress hit headlines when she stepped out onto the red carpet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual fundraiser in a strapless light-up Zac Posen ballgown that made her look like Cinderella.

Speaking with the fashion designer for Town & Country magazine, Danes shared that she is still asked about the look and is thrilled she can share such a memorable red carpet moment with her longtime friend.

“People still also talk about the dress you designed for me for the 2016 Met Gala. I mean, they talk about it as one of the most remarkable things that I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. “And I’m sort of like, ‘Well, I have an amazing friend.’ But I was glad that we got to share that.”

Posen, who recently closed his eponymous fashion label, praised his pal for surviving the evening in such a heavy dress.

Meanwhile, Danes recalled how she had required assistance in the bathroom.

“I was careful not to imbibe any liquids, because the bathroom situation was not easy. I remember I went in there before it was too crowded, and Uma Thurman was in the bathroom and she helped me,” the 40-year-old remembered. “(The dress) was great on the red carpet, but it really came alive inside the museum. People’s mouths would just fall open, it was so pretty.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Danes told her friend, who she has known since he was in high school, that she only started partnering with designers for public appearances after Baz Luhrmann got Prada’s team to style her to promote his 1997 movie Romeo + Juliet.

“You did your own styling. You got a dress, and you did your own hair and make-up,” she shared. “I remember, for Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann partnered with Prada, so Miuccia Prada did all my clothes for that press tour. That was amazing… It feels antiquated now. But we’re evolving, and that’s always a good thing.”

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Harry Styles addresses decision to pass on role in The Little Mermaid remake

Harry Styles has admitting to turning down the role of Prince Eric in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid because of “a few things”.Earlier this year, rumours swirled that the former One Direction singer had been tapped to appear…

Harry Styles has admitting to turning down the role of Prince Eric in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid because of “a few things”.

Earlier this year, rumours swirled that the former One Direction singer had been tapped to appear in the reboot of the 1989 animated classic, although it was later reported the star had opted out of the role.

Speaking with presenters Roman Kemp and Sonny Jay for Britain’s Capital Breakfast radio show on Tuesday, Harry opened up about why he walked away from the project.

Explaining he had been approached by the team behind the flick, the Sign of the Times hitmaker said: “I had, you know, a meeting with Rob Marshall the director, who is the most wonderful man, he’s great.”

However, Harry became uncomfortable as he tried to avoid giving the reason for why he pulled out of the high-profile role.

“And it was just, honestly, it was just a few things. It just, it wasn’t…erm… I think it’s gonna be amazing, obviously it’s an amazing film, and I can tell Roman’s watching how I’m kind of worming,” the 25-year-old joked, acknowledging that he didn’t want to answer the question.

Harry made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s Oscar-winning war film Dunkirk in 2017 but has yet to build on his screen career. In addition to the Disney project, he auditioned for the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of the iconic singer but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler got the part instead.

Singer/actress Halle Bailey is the only star confirmed for The Little Mermaid so far, which begins production next year, with Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, and Awkwafina all believed to be in negotiations for other key characters.

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Olivia DeJonge to play Priscilla Presley in Elvis biopic

Olivia DeJonge is set to play Priscilla Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic.The Australian actress, best known for starring in Netflix show The Society, has landed the coveted role of the music icon’s wife in the upcoming drama, according to…

Olivia DeJonge is set to play Priscilla Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic.

The Australian actress, best known for starring in Netflix show The Society, has landed the coveted role of the music icon’s wife in the upcoming drama, according to Variety.

“Olivia is capable of manifesting the complex depth and presence that has made Priscilla Presley an icon in her own right,” Luhrmann said of DeJonge. “She’s an extremely talented young actor and the perfect counterpoint to Austin’s Elvis.”

The actress, who plays Elle Tomkins in The Society, will star opposite Austin Butler, who was cast as Elvis earlier this year, and Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who is set to play the star’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

The 21-year-old previously starred in movies including M. Night Shyamalan’s 2015 horror The Visit, teen drama The Sisterhood of the Night, and this year’s thriller Stray Dolls.

According to Variety, filming will begin in Queensland, Australia, next year.

The as-yet-untitled drama will follow Elvis’ journey from poverty-stricken singer to music icon and will document his complex relationship with his manager, which spanned over more than 20 years. It will also touch upon his controversial romance to Priscilla, who Elvis first met during his army career in 1959 when she was 14 and he was 24.

They were married from 1967 to 1973 and share one daughter, Lisa Marie.

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Ansel Elgort wasn’t ‘prepared enough’ to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic

Ansel Elgort fears he missed out on getting the chance to play Elvis Presley on the big screen because he wasn’t prepared for the audition.Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler eventually landed the role of the music icon in Baz Luhrmann’s …

Ansel Elgort fears he missed out on getting the chance to play Elvis Presley on the big screen because he wasn’t prepared for the audition.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor Austin Butler eventually landed the role of the music icon in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic, after beating off stiff competition from the likes of Elgort, Harry Styles, and Miles Teller.

And while Elgort was disappointed to lose out on the coveted part, the Baby Driver star revealed he was filming West Side Story at the time of his audition for Luhrmann, and now feels he wasn’t quite as prepared as Butler.

“It wasn’t a bad audition. I think it was great,” the 25-year-old told The Huffington Post. “I was in the middle of filming West Side Story, so it was a little hard. I watched a tonne of footage and memorised some of (Presley’s) interviews just to get his speech pattern down, and sang a bunch of his stuff… but I wasn’t really prepared.

“With Elvis, I think it just wasn’t right. Or so they thought. That’s fine. Baz has a vision. But now I feel like it’s no big deal. If I don’t get Elvis, that means I get to go do a play sooner.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Elgort revealed he’s had to fight for good roles during his career – including his recent movie The Goldfinch with Nicole Kidman – and even auditioned for West Side Story director Steven Spielberg multiple times to prove he could play leading man Tony.

“Everything that is a good role, you have a fight for. Goldfinch, I had to sort of fight for. I did a lot of auditions and made sure I did a good job in those auditions. Same with West Side Story. I auditioned for months and months. I kept having to go in and prove to them that I could do it,” he shared.

Luhrmann’s untitled film about Presley’s early life, also starring Tom Hanks as the singer’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, is set to be released in 2021.

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Harry Styles turned down Prince Eric role to focus on new music

Harry Styles turned down the role of Prince Eric in the live-action The Little Mermaid so he could focus on making new music.It was announced earlier this month that the singer, 25, had turn down the opportunity to star opposite Halle Bailey as mermaid…

Harry Styles turned down the role of Prince Eric in the live-action The Little Mermaid so he could focus on making new music.

It was announced earlier this month that the singer, 25, had turn down the opportunity to star opposite Halle Bailey as mermaid Ariel’s human love interest Eric in Rob Marshall’s remake of the 1989 animated classic.

And in a new interview with The Face magazine, he revealed that a possible role for him “was discussed” but never confirmed, leaving him free to pursue his solo music career instead.

“I want to put music out and focus on that for a while,” Harry explained. “But everyone involved in it was amazing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.”

Confirming that he had declined to star as Prince Eric, his representative recently released a statement which read: “While he was a fan of the project, he has respectfully declined the offer.”

At the time, fans of the former One Direction singer had speculated he had turned down the role to concentrate on making his second album, or to even reunite with his bandmates Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan.

Elsewhere in the interview, the Dunkirk star also opened up about losing out to Austin Butler for the role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming movie, and insisted he wasn’t bitter about not getting the part.

“I feel like if I’m not the right person for the thing, then it’s best for both of us that I don’t do it, you know?” he shared. “(Elvis) was such an icon for me growing up. There was something almost sacred about him, almost like I didn’t want to touch him.”

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Austin Butler had 12-hour audition for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Austin Butler had an epic 12-hour audition with Quentin Tarantino to land a part in his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.The 27-year-old plays Manson Family cult member Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, one of Charles Manson’s followers who murdered pregnant…

Austin Butler had an epic 12-hour audition with Quentin Tarantino to land a part in his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The 27-year-old plays Manson Family cult member Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, one of Charles Manson’s followers who murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people in 1969.

Butler described the audition process as “one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had,” and recalled to WWD that he sent the casting director a tape, not even knowing what role he was auditioning for.

“Normally you go into an audition and you’re there for 20 minutes and you’re gone. I was there for almost 12 hours, and he gave me the job at the end of the day. Which never happens,” Butler said. “We did a handshake deal at the end of the day and he said, ‘Do you want to do it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, you just made my life’ and I gave him a hug. And then I got back on a plane, went straight to the theatre and did a show that night, on a Tuesday.”

The actor, who recently appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie The Dead Don’t Die alongside Bill Murray and Adam Driver, recently won the coveted part of playing Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film about the icon and his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Before news broke that he had beaten competition from fellow actors Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort for the role of Elvis, Butler told WWD that he had been going backwards and forwards to meetings with Luhrmann for a month.

“We’ve been sort of working together for the last month. I have signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), so I can’t talk about it at all, but yeah,” he shared.

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Austin Butler ‘profoundly honoured’ to have landed Elvis Presley role

Austin Butler feels “extraordinarily privileged” to have landed the leading role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic.The 27-year-old beat out the likes of Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort to land the coveted part in the upcomi…

Austin Butler feels “extraordinarily privileged” to have landed the leading role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic.

The 27-year-old beat out the likes of Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort to land the coveted part in the upcoming Warner Bros. flick, which chronicles the life and music of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll through the prism of his complicated relationship with his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to be played by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight at the Los Angeles premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on Monday, Butler gushed he is “profoundly honoured” to have landed the gig.

“I am just profoundly honoured that Baz has invited me on this journey with him,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary privilege. And I just feel so blessed to be working with such singular directors like him and Quentin Tarantino.”

When news of Butler’s casting broke, Luhrmann released a statement explaining how he decided on The Carrie Diaries actor for the high-profile leading role.

“I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures,” he shared.

Butler, who is the longtime boyfriend of actress Vanessa Hudgens, underwent months of screen tests and interviews to nab the part and the film shoot will take place early next year in Luhrmann’s native Australia.

His career seems to be the rise – he recently appeared alongside Bill Murray and Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die and will be seen playing murderer Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, a member of the Manson family, in Tarantino’s latest project. Both films premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in May.

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