Get ready to get “all shook up” as Warner Bros. is planning a film centered on Elvis Presley. Details behind the upcoming project are fuzzy at best, but the forthcoming movie – still untitled – is coming courtesy of producer Gail Berman (TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Tecumseh Productions. Most curiously, visionary Aussie director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby) appears interested to direct, a coup that would instantly push the film into a different sphere considering the filmmaker’s visual prowess and success building films centered around music.
What is known, at least according to sources at The Wrap, is that Warner Bros. has stealthily secured the rights to The King’s musical legacy, but it’s still unclear if the film is intended as a straight out biopic and what periods of Presley’s life will it focus on. What is known is that screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey) has been brought on to pen an original screenplay about the iconic, hip-gyrating singer. If the film is intended as a full life biopic of Presley, it would curiously mark the first time a major film went down that path. While two well received television movies have centered around The King– 1979’s Elvis, which starred Kurt Russell and earned the actor an Emmy nomination, and 2005’s Elvis, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in a Golden Globe winning performances, there hasn’t been a definitive screen version of the artist in narrative form. One thing is certain: the casting director has a challenge in store.
That Warner Bros. is trying to enlist Luhrmann is hardly surprising considering just last year the filmmaker and the studio parnered for the directors’ most commercially successful film to date, the 3-D iteration of the literary classic The Great Gatsby. While the film earned mixed reviews, it was a major earner both locally and abroad and played well during the typically superhero and sequel-only summer months. The film also earned two Academy Awards (for Costume Design and Production Design) and produced a hit soundtrack, only adding to its luster.
An Elvis movie would still mark a change of pace for Luhrmann, for though he has worked in period pieces, he has yet to make a movie centered around a real-life public figure. The director is also reportedly circling an update of the classic Kung Fu and is developing a Napoleon project for HBO; it’s unclear where Elvis will fit into his schedule.
We will follow this film as more details become known.