Denzel Washington convinced Baz Luhrmann to star Austin Butler in Elvis

Denzel Washington convinced Baz Luhrmann to star Austin Butler in Elvis ...

When Baz Luhrmanns Elvis was first announced, Elvis Presley became quickly one of Hollywood''s most popular roles. It''s probable that every young actor wanted a chance to play The King, with celebrities like Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Harry Styles all competing for the role at different levels.

How did Austin Butler, a relative newcomer, get the gig? As it turns out, he got some help from one of Hollywood''s greatest stars.

In a new interview with EW, Luhrmann discussed the role of Butler as Elvis, including the nudge received by Denzel Washington, who appeared with Butler in a 2018 Broadway production of Eugene ONeills The Iceman Cometh.

Luhrmann said that he received this videotape of this young guy playing Unchained Melody, and I thought, Wow, what is it? How is it happening?''

While Luhrmann was already intrigued by Butler, it took a call from a two-time Oscar winner to complete the deal.

Denzel Washington called me a cold call, then said. I did not know Denzel. And he said, Ive just worked with this guy on stage. I have never seen an acceptable work ethic. I''ll just see him.''

Luhrmann didn''t see him, thus transforming Butler into a rock-and-roll icon. Butler had his work done for him after getting the part. It''s a complicated film spanning Elvis'' entire life, dividing it into three sections.

Luhrmann described his life as going into three roles: Theres Elvis the punk, if you like, the original punk rocker, the rebel. Then theres Elvis the movie man, and thats when he is pop and family-friendly. And then theres Elvis in the 70s, which is epic.

The director of Butlers'' performances could not be happier now that the film is finished. He went on to praise the actor for his ability to create his own humanizing spin on the much-mythologized cultural icon.

I apologized to him because I had put him through the ringer, but he loved Elvis. What he''s managed to do is not do an impersonation, but to live Elvis, as long as he has humanized him.

Elvis will be released in theaters on Friday, June 24.