Baz Luhrmann has announced that, after an extensive search, Austin Butler will play Elvis Presley in the director’s upcoming biopic of the global icon.

The movie will explore the life and music of Presly through the prism of his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, played by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks. The story will explore their complex alignment over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the USA’s shifting cultural landscape.

“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” said Luhrman, who directed The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge.

Fans had speculated for some time about who the chosen actor might be, with some suggesting Harry Styles, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and even Kristen Stewart for the role.

Miles Teller

“Throughout the casting process, it was an honour for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. 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.”

Principal photography will begin early next year, with filming taking place in Queensland, Australia.