Mixing the glitterati of Hollywood and Australia, the film stars Austin Butler in the title role, two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks as his manager Tom Parker, and Australia’s own Olivia DeJonge as Elvis' former wife Priscilla Presley.
Despite Elvis being an iconic symbol of Americana, Australia was chosen to be the location to resurrect the legend - and was filmed right here on the Gold Coast.
We chat with Lynne Benzie, President of Village Roadshow Studios – the home of the Elvis production – on what it was like to facilitate the production about the rise and fall of The King.
Can’t help falling in love with Australia
Baz Luhrmann, director of Elvis, is Australian-born-and-made, which greatly influenced the decision to shoot on the Gold Coast from the start.
At the launch of the Elvis: Direct From Graceland exhibition in Bendigo, Priscilla Presley told us that Luhrmann stayed for an extended period at the famed Presley residences in Graceland, Memphis, where he was able to take on extensive research in preparation for the motion picture.
Filming previous hits including Australia, The Great Gatsby, Strictly Ballroom and the Academy Award nominated Moulin Rouge Down Under, for Luhrmann, filming Elvis in his home country was a no-brainer.
In a statement, Luhrmann said that he continues to support the Australian arts scene “in the same manner that we ourselves were supported and mentored”, because “Australia continues to be one of the great filmmaking locations in the world.”
To show he meant business, Luhrmann moved his production headquarters to the coastal suburb of Miami, Gold Coast, alongside his wife of 25 years and Australia’s most lauded Academy Award winner, the Production and Costume Designer Catherine Martin.
Previously having launched the careers of Australian celebrities such as Gold Logie-nominee Sonia Kruger (Strictly Ballroom), a first time Academy Award nomination for Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge), and having a combined film intake of over a billion dollars worldwide, it’s easy to see why Australia has a burning love for Baz Luhrmann projects.
The Elvis cast itself consists of many Australians, including Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley, Richard Roxburgh and Helen Thomson as Elvis’ parents, and David Wenham as country music singer Hank Snow, bringing clout to the Australian acting scene.
In a statement at the film’s world premiere on the Gold Coast, Luhrmann praised the Australian film industry, stating “I hope they [the industry] look at it [the Elvis film], and they go wow, we can do that, because they can.”