Baz Lurhmann says a four-hour version of Elvis exists

Elvis director Baz Lurhmann has revealed that his musical biopic was originally four hours long.

“I mean, I have a four-hour version, actually,” he told RadioTimes.com (opens in new tab). “I do. But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30.”

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and The Dead Don’t Die actor Austin Butler plays the legendary musician, while Tom Hanks is his manager Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge plays Elvis’ wife, Priscilla Presley. The movie will tell the story of Presley’s life through his complicated relationship with Parker, spanning 20 years from his childhood to his rise to fame. 

As for what he had to cut out of the movie’s final cut, Lurhmann said: “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 pare [that] down – and it’s so interesting how the Colonel gets rid of them.”

He added: “The relationship with his first girlfriend, Dixie, you know. And later on how… once he’s caught in a trap, and he’s discombobulated and doesn’t understand… someone who’s got such a hole in his heart like Elvis constantly looking and searching for love and finding it on stage but nowhere else.”

This is Lurhmann’s first time in the director’s chair since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire. His other movies include Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!. His last project was the Netflix show The Get Down, but that was shelved after season 2

Elvis arrives on the big screen on June 24 – for more on the movie, check out our interview with Austin Butler.

For more viewing inspiration, check out our picks of the other upcoming movies that we think should be on your radar in 2022 and beyond. 

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