Director Baz Luhrmann revealed that Elvis has a 4-hour-long director’s cut, including Presley’s infamous meeting with President Richard Nixon.
Baz Luhrmann says that a four-hour-long director’s cut exists for Elvis. Director auteur Luhrmann, who has previously delivered flamboyant theatrical pieces like Romeo + Juliet (nineteen ninety six), Moulin Rouge! (2001), and The Great Gatsby (2013), helmed the upcoming musical biopic about the King of rock ‘n roll Elvis Presley off a script he wrote himself with several notable screenwriters. Elvis stars Switched at Birth actor Austin Butler as the titular music icon. It charts the legendary artist’s remarkable life journey from his humble Mississippi beginnings to his rise to far-reaching stardom in the 1950s. Tom Hanks, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natasha Bassett, and David Wenham round out the cast for Elvis.
Although it’s due to open in theaters later this month, Elvis already had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival back in May. The reviews for Elvis are generally positive, with much of the praise going to Butler’s career-best lead performance and his striking physical and vocal resemblance to the legendary singer. However, one aspect of the biopic that has drawn criticism is that the narrative often feels overwhelming. The frenetic music, splashy set pieces, and dazzling cinematography can be visually staggering, inundating critics and viewers. Luhrmann has now explained why some might find Elvis a bit overpacked, which is because the movie’s original version was much longer.
In a new interview with RadioTimesLuhrmann revealed that Elvis has a four-hour-long director’s cut. The filmmaker had initially put together 240 minutes of footage. But given the time constraint of the theatrical cut, he had to chop off some significant clips and bring the movie down into the 159-minute bracket. Among the scenes I have removed from Elvis, Luhrmann reveals the singer’s highly publicized 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon and his interaction with his band. But those shots were removed to release the movie in cinemas. Read what Luhrmann said below.
“I mean, I have a four-hour version, actually. Gone. But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30…I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more – there’s so much more. I mean, there’s lots of stuff that I shot like the relationship with the band, I had to stop [that] down – and it’s so interesting how the Colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them.”
Ace Elvis tracks Presley’s life, the story is heavily backdropped by Elvis’ controversial relationship with Tom Parker (Hanks), his controversial talent manager. But as Luhrmann points out, the movie’s 4-hour-long director’s cut actually included a deeper introspection into Elvis and Tom’s tumultuous partnership, as well as the latter’s role in Presley’s band’s dealings and personal relationships. In his original vision of him, Luhrmann had sought to showcase Elvis’ early romance with his first girlfriend, Dixie, his subsequent pursuit of love, his sedative addiction, and controversial media appearances. But not finding the space (or time) to include all that in the movie, Luhrmann ultimately decided to stick with the events and aspects that captured “the spirit of the character.”
As a legendary artist whose life and career was nothing short of sensational, it is hard to contain all aspects of his existence in a feature film, whether 4-hour-long or 2-and-a-half-hours-long. Still, Luhrmann worked with what people loved about Elvis, how he rose to prominence, and what caused his commercial decline, and ended up making a movie that was not only engaging and watchable but also true to the star it set out to honor. For this reason, Elvis has been acclaimed by Presley’s family, including his daughter, granddaughter, and ex-wife. Of course, it would have been interesting to see how the filmmaker approaches the politics of Elvis and Nixon’s infamous meeting and the star’s drug abuse. But those are more comprehensive topics that can be made into films of their own. Now, all that remains to be seen is how audiences will react to the movie. However, considering the early reviews and Butler’s popularity, all the signs point to a positive reception.
Next: Elvis: The Sad Connection That Made Austin Butler’s Casting Perfect
Source: Radio Times
- Elvis (2022)Release date: June 24, 2022
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