The role of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic about the music legend was a hot one, coveted by the likes of Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and even Harry Styles. But it was the former teen heartthrob Austin Butler who eventually won out and convinced Lurhmann to give him the gig. It was clear Butler had the likeness down, but now, with the premiere of the movie’s first trailer, we finally get to see if Lurhmann really made the right decision.
The first look at Elvis, which dropped on Thursday, introduces us to Butler as the pelvis-shaking star who initially caught the attention of Colonel Tom Parker—played by an almost unrecognizable Tom Hanks—Presley’s infamous manager. The story, which spans decades, revolves around the pair’s tumultuous relationship as Elvis grows from a young boy in Memphis, Tennessee to the voice of a generation. The trailer begins by highlighting Presley’s younger years, when he was first gaining popularity, and initially came under fire for his erotic dance moves that many felt were inappropriate at the time. “Some people want to put me in jail ‘cause of the way I was moving,” Butler says in his best Presley southern drawl, which he recently revealed he perfected through six-days-a-week voice training.
"That's what got the fire burning inside of me," he said. "Ultimately it's the life that's important. You can impersonate somebody. But it's to find the life within, to find the heart." In the trailer, we see the result of that work, as Butler completely melts into the King of Rock and Roll. As the preview continues, the mobs of fans seem to grow larger, and Presley struggles to juggle his fame, his relationship with his wife Lisa (played by Olivia DeJonge), and the state of the ever-changing world.
Elvis, Luhrmann’s first film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, premieres in theaters on Friday, June 24th. The movie also stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as country star Jimmie Rodgers.