The Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast is a diverse group of talent, new and old, playing the real-life icons from the era of The King. Luhrmann is the director of such stylistic hits as Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, Australia, and The Great Gatsby, known for his vibrant, kinetic visuals and a keen focus on music. Elvis is the director’s first biopic about a famed musician, which had a tall order to fill in casting the film. However, with Austin Butler’s Golden Globe win and Academy Award nomination for playing Elvis himself, it seems like the casting was quite successful.
Elvis Presley is the iconic legend who helped define a new era of music and changed the landscape of the industry, becoming known as “The King of Rock and Roll.” A controversial figure at the start, Elvis’ music and persona were accepted, and he continued his rise to fame as a singer, actor, and icon throughout the world over. Elvis Presley surrounded himself with a number of friends, family, and colleagues throughout his life, who are portrayed in Luhrmann’s film by a talented group of actors. Portraying real-world individuals in The King’s life, the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast consists of heavy hitters like Tom Hanks, familiar faces like Dacre Montgomery, and newcomers like Olivia DeJonge.
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
In the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, Butler plays the lead, Elvis Presley, the legendary singer from Tennessee who starts off as a talented up-and-coming artist that explodes onto the music scene to become one of the most prominent figures of all time and a true cultural icon. Butler’s most recognizable role to date is as Wil Ohmsford in The Shannara Chronicles, as well as his part in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, where he played Manson murderer Tex Watson. The actor has also appeared in The Carrie Diaries and Arrow. Fans will next see him in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part 2, as Feyd Rautha.
Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker
Hanks plays Colonel Tom Parker, the controversial manager of Elvis Presley, who gets his hooks into the singer at an early age and remains with him throughout the entirety of his career, creating opportunity while also manipulating the singer’s career. No stranger to playing real-life roles, Hanks is a multi-Academy Award-winning actor known for his roles in films like Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Philadelphia, Saving Private Ryan, and countless others, becoming a Hollywood icon in his own right. Elvis is one of the few movies in which Hanks’s transformative performance is helped by the use of prosthetics and one of the few where he’s playing a villainous character.
Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley
Olivia DeJonge plays Elvis’ first and only wife Priscilla Presley in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, who first met the singer while he was in the Army, stationed in Germany. The couple was eventually married in 1967 just as Elvis began his Hollywood career. They had a daughter, Lisa Marie, before divorcing in 1973, although Priscilla would later become the executor of Elvis’ estate forming Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to keep his legacy alive and act as herself in The Naked Gun films. DeJonge is a relatively new talent, but has built a reputation in projects like TNT’s Will, Netflix’s The Society, and the HBO Max miniseries The Staircase.
Richard Roxburgh as Vernon Presley
Roxburgh plays Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley, who would become Elvis’ financial manager, helping to take care of affairs at Graceland and traveling with his son to help manage his career alongside Colonel Tom Parker. An Australian native, Roxburgh has been featured in numerous film and TV projects, notably Mission: Impossible II, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing, Hacksaw Ridge, and Catherine The Great.
Helen Thomson as Gladys Presley
Thomson plays Elvis Presley’s mother Gladys Presley in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast. Gladys came from a poor background and had a very close relationship with her son, which was believed to be in part to the fact that Elvis had been born a twin, but his brother was stillborn. She suffered from alcoholism and struggled with Elvis’ rise to fame, which further distanced her from her son until her death at age 46 due to alcohol poisoning. Thomson is best known for her work in her native Australia, including multiple TV shows such as Bad Mothers, Stupid, Stupid Man, and Bad Cop, Bad Cop. Elvis is her first feature film work since 2004.
Elvis’ Supporting Cast & Characters
Kelvin Harrison Jr. as B.B. King: Harrison plays legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer B.B. King in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, the American blues singer-songwriter known as “The King of the Blues” who befriended Elvis in his early days as an up-and-coming musician. Harrison Jr. has been in a number of well-known projects throughout his career thus far, including films like The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mudbound, Waves, and Cyrano. He’ll next appear in Chevalier, a biopic about composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
David Wenham as Hank Snow: Wenham plays Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow, the famed country music singer who spanned a massive 50-year career and was originally managed by Colonel Tom Parker. Snow initially sought Presley to perform as an opening act at the Grand Ole Opry, but eventually, Colonel Tom Parker would leave Snow to manage Elvis. Wenham has had an illustrious career in film and TV, starring in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings as Faramir, Zack Snyder’s 300 as Dilios, and most recently in the Netflix series Pieces of Her, among countless other credits.
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jimmie Rodgers Snow: Smit-McPhee plays the son of Hank Snow in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, a musician like his father who comes to idolize Elvis as he began his ascent to superstardom. Rodgers Snow would leave music altogether early on to become a preacher. Smit-McPhee has forged a notable career thus far, starring in films like The Road, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Alpha, and Power of the Dog. He also appeared as Nightcrawler in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Luke Bracey as Jerry Schilling: Bracey plays talent manager Jerry Schilling in Elvis, a lifelong friend, manager, and member of Elvis’ “Memphis Mafia” group of friends, managers, and associates that commonly surrounded the singer. Bracey is an Australian actor known for his work in films like G.I. Joe: Retaliation (as Cobra Commander), the Point Break remake, Hacksaw Ridge, and the Netflix action film Interceptor with Elsa Pataky.
Dacre Montgomery as Steve Binder: Montgomery plays Steve Binder in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, a TV producer who helped make Elvis’ 1969 comeback TV special come to life, which was a tremendous success, much to the chagrin of Colonel Tom Parker. He would also later produce the Star Wars TV Special, one of the most critically-panned specials ever made. Montgomery, another Australian native, is best known as Billy Hargrove in Netflix’s Stranger Things as well as the Red Ranger in the Power Rangers movie.
Alton Mason as Little Richard: Mason plays singer-songwriter Little Richard in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, known as “Architect of Rock and Roll” for his influence on the genre, including his hits like “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally,” traveling in the early circles of the movement with the likes of B.B. King, Elvis, Buddy Holly, etc. Mason is best known as a male model with Elvis being his first-ever feature role.
Austin Butler’s Oscar Nomination Cemented His Portrayal Of Elvis As Definitive
There have been many actors to play Elvis in the past. However, in the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast, the actor that gave what may go down as the definitive performance of the “King of Rock” in a biopic is Austin Butler. Taking on such an iconic role is a daunting task for a young and relatively unknown actor, but Butler’s performance captured the necessary charisma and ensured that film fans would remember his name alongside Elvis’s for decades to come.
Following his Golden Globe win, Butler picked up a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, but ended up losing out on the role to Brendan Fraser for his role in The Whale. However, the loss was more of a credit to Brendan Fraser’s talent than it was a critique of Butler’s performance, which is arguably the best on-screen Elvis Presley so far. From his vocal changes to Butler drawing on his own sad connection to Elvis, it is a performance that brings this iconic figure to life in an impressive way and leads the Baz Luhrmann Elvis cast with the confidence of a Hollywood star.