Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann along with Hollywood star Tom Hanks, both of whom are awaiting the release of their upcoming biopic ‘Elvis’, recently opened up on Hanks’ casting as Colonel Parker – the Dutch music entrepreneur and the enigmatic manager of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.
To Baz Luhrmann, who hadn’t earlier worked with Hanks, the immediate ‘yes’ from the latter came across as a sheer surprise.
The film, which also stars Austin Butler in the lead role, explores the life and music of Elvis Presley with its story seen through the lens of Elvis’ complicated relationship with Parker (Hanks), who emigrated illegally to the United States at the age of 20 and changed his name with a claim to have been born in the United States.
To play the role of Colonel Parker, Luhrmann recruited Tom Hanks stating, “I’d never worked with Tom previously, but I just told him the story and before I even got to the video I’d brought along to show him what I had in mind, he said, ‘Well, if you want me I’m your guy.’ What a gift!”
As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (essayed by Olivia DeJonge).
Talking about the real-life Parker, Hanks, says, “He was both a genius and a scoundrel. He was a very disciplined man, a wicked smart businessman and a dime-squeezing skinflint, but also a pioneer in a big type of show business that did not exist until Elvis Presley came along. He knew instantaneously that Elvis was a unique artiste, he saw his grand potential and knew that if he didn’t make a ton of money off him, somebody else would.”
Interestingly, the official Indian adaptation of Hanks’ 1994 classic ‘Forrest Gump’ – the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, is set to arrive in cinemas on August 11.
Starring alongside Butler and Hanks, award-winning theatre actress Helen Thomson who plays Elvis’ mother Gladys, Richard Roxburgh who portrays Elvis’ father, Vernon, and DeJonge who plays Priscilla among many others. ‘Elvis’ is set to drop in theatres across India on June 24.