It's Official: Austin Butler Is Playing Elvis Presley In The Upcoming Biopic

by Parry Ernsberger
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Over the last several weeks, there have been all kinds of rumors in regards to who will step into the King of Rock and Roll's blue suede shoes for Baz Luhrmann's highly-anticipated biopic about the singer. But as of Monday, July 15, it's official: Austin Butler will play Elvis Presley, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed, and no one is more thrilled than Butler's long-time girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens.

Luhrmann released a statement about the casting news on Monday, and had immense praise for Butler's talent. "I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist," the director explained, as per THR.

He then went on to reveal that he was made aware of Butler's potential ability to take on the role of Presley after he starred alongside Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway in 2018. "Through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops," Luhrmann continued, "I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures."

Shortly after Butler's casting was announced, Hudgens — whom he's been dating since 2011 — excitedly shared the news in a post on her Instagram page. "I AMMMM OVERRRR THE FUCKING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT," she wrote, followed by six heart-eye emojis. "SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!"

Just for the record, the fact that Butler nabbed the starring role was definitely worth of all those emojis — six actually might have been on the modest side, honestly. The project has been in the works since 2014, according to IndieWire, and previous rumors have made it seem like the competition to play Presley was particularly stiff. Earlier this month, THR reported that, in addition to Butler, there were four other big-name actors in the running to play the icon. Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Harry Styles were all rumored to be competing for the part.

Oh, and there's something else that raised the stakes even higher. Tom Hanks — a much-beloved legend —  is set to play Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, THR noted back in March. That casting has approval from Parker's widow, Loanne, who told TMZ that she wholeheartedly approved.

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So, yeah. No one would have blamed Hudgens in the slightest if she'd decided to use, like, six hundred emojis instead of just six. OK, six hundred would have been kind of excessive. Has that ever even been done before? Who knows. She totally could have gotten away with using like, sixteen, at least, don't you think?

Hudgens wasn't the only one who was over-the-moon about Butler nabbing the part of Presley. Sarah Hyland commented on her post, and excitedly wrote in all caps, "STOPPPPPP IT HAPPENED!!!!!!!! IM FREAKING OUT!!!!!! IM SO HAPPY! HE WORKED SO FRIKKIN HARD FOR THIS!!!" Camila Mendes simply added, "insane," followed by the twinkling stars emoji and the raising-hands-up emoji.

It'll be interesting to see what Butler looks like once they transform him into the King of Rock and Roll. It's probably safe to assume that he's nailed the singer's signature pelvic swing by now, and that Hudgens for sure approves.