Rock legend Elvis Presley has been played many times by many different actors on the big screen, but there’s yet to have been a truly definitive biopic about him. The closest so far is probably the 2005 CBS mini-series Elvis, in which he was played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but we’re still waiting for his life story to grace theater screens.
That may be about to change, however, as the film industry has been piecing together a collection of biopics about famous music acts. Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) will soon be playing Freddie Mercury in a movie about the rise of Queen, and Tom Hardy is set to play Elton John in the upcoming biopic Rocketman.
Now TheWrap reports that Baz Luhrmann is in talks to direct a biopic about Elvis Presley for Warner Bros, with Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) currently working on an original screenplay that won’t be based on any pre-existing material. According to “multiple individuals familiar with the situation,” Warner Bros has secured the rights to Presley’s entire music catalogue, though the studio itself declined to comment.
Gail Berman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will produce the as-yet untitled Elvis biopic for Tecumseh Productions, with Whalerock Industries’ Andrew Whitman executive producing. According to the report, Luhrmann has been in negotiations for several weeks, and if a deal does close then it’s expected that his wife – Oscar winner Catherine Martin (Moulin Rouge) – will also board the project as costume designer and possibly also production designer.
Luhrmann’s most recent release was an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby (the film for which Martin won her Oscar), which was also produced by Warner Bros and grossed a respectable $351 million worldwide. Luhrmann’s five feature films so far have established his reputation for very lush sets and costumes, rich color palettes, and intense and melodramatic love stories. There are many, many different ways in which an Elvis Presley biopic could be made, but the fact that Luhrmann’s best known film is a musical means that he’s a pretty appropriate choice for this project.
Assuming everything goes ahead without falling into the pits of development hell, who do you think should play Elvis in the biopic?
We’ll keep you updated on this Untitled Elvis Biopic as development continues.