After years of production, Baz Luhrmann‘s latest extravaganza Elvis is finally hitting cinemas and getting some serious hype — the 12-minute standing ovation at Cannes kind of hype. Elvis has all the hallmarks of a Baz Lurhmann epic: it’s full of wildly glamorous costuming that honours the 50s, archival footage is weaved into gorgeously shot scenes and, of course, stellar performances from some of the best in the biz.
Given that the movie celebrates music and fandom in a way that feels like a huge party, it was only fitting that the Sydney premiere was as buzzy as a group of high schoolers shouting the words to ‘Hound Dog’ in the 60s.
Taking place at Sydney’s State Theatre, we were lucky enough to head down and get a little inside scoop on what fans can expect from the movie.
She was a-buzzin’.
First of all, the usually drab CBD street was completely transformed. The combination of the red carpet, the iconic old-school lights that adorn the theatre and the buzz of the fans made it feel like we’d been transported to an Elvis show back in the day.
The first people to arrive were some of the Aussie stars who feature in the film. Much like any Baz classic, Elvis features a bunch of handpicked local talent who absolutely nail the op. Xavier Samuel (who you probably recognise from Twilight: Eclipse and plays a member of Elvis‘ band) sauntered down first and told us about how he’d wake up every day and practice the guitar until his fingers basically bled in preparation for the role.
Then, of course, Tom Hanks arrived (he plays Elvis’ manager in the movie). Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to gab with him, but he did give fans the ole’ razzle-dazzle while speeding down the red carpet. Look, I don’t know if this blurs the lines of professionalism but when I saw Tom emerge from his ride I screamed. Like, it’s TOM HANKS, America’s sweetheart, a living legend, an icon — I was shook.
The fans were also stoked to see him — I truly hope this bloke had his night made.
Luckily for us, we were able to nab some time with none other than Baz Luhrmann himself.
Baz (who was dripping in head-to-toe Prada, because of course he was) gave his two cents on what he reckons young film and music fans will take away from the flick.
“Elvis was the first viral artist, the first artist to have his own style, the first-ever artist who teenagers ‘invented’. A lot of what’s going on with viral culture and TikTok now is almost a flashback to what happened with Elvis. It all happened so quickly and he wasn’t ready for that fame,” Baz told PEDESTRIAN.TV exclusively.
He also spoke about how he showed his good pal Jay-Z the movie (who else can say Jay-Z is a friend??), which made him realise that Austin ‘humanised’ Elvis in the film to give it that special sauce.
“It’s a film about art, music and power and any young music or culture fan will appreciate that.”
Next up was Austin Butler. The girlies who’d been waiting for him all day in the crowd naturally went wild as he hopped onto the red carpet, but we luckily snagged him for a quick convo.
“My body still hurts,” Austin told us, explaining what it took to nail some of the choreography in the film. He also spilt on what it was like to work with Tom Hanks, explaining some of the words of wisdom he imparted to him.
“He said, ‘every day I try to read something that has nothing to do with whatever role I’m doing’,” Austin mentioned of Tom’s tips for career longevity.
We also caught up with Melbourne-native Olivia DeJonge, who plays Priscilla Presley in the film, who described her night as being a little chaotic.
“It was all very nerve-wracking but exciting, it was such a great opportunity to work with Baz and the amazing crew,” said Olivia, on what it was like to make the movie.
“Baz is a walking Yoda. Sometimes he’d say nothing, and other times he’d say one little thing that’d just hit you over the head and you’re left thinking, ‘dayum’ [laughs].”
After the red carpet wrapped, everyone gathered in the theatre for an exclusive viewing of the flick (which also featured a sing-along lead by Tom Hanks).
Now, we can’t guarantee you’ll get the same treatment if you watch the movies in cinemas come June 23 but, you will get to fall in-love with the god-damn charming cast even more and witness the signature-Bazza style in all its glory on the big screen.
You can suss the most recent trailer below:Image: Warner Bros.