Baz Luhrmann has found another important piece of his casting puzzle as he moved forward on his Elvis biopic. Set up at Warner Bros., the project has locked in Australian actress Olivia DeJonge as wife Priscilla Presley. She is perhaps best known for her role in The Society.
Born Priscilla Ann Wagner, the love of Elvis’ life hailed from Brooklyn, New York. She was married to Elvis at a very young age, from 1967 to 1973. She also served as the chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises, helping to turn The King’s mansion Graceland into one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Elvis Presley and Priscilla original met while Presley was still in the army, around 1959. She was only 14 at the time, and he was 24. They continued to see each other for 7 and a half years, and Priscilla moved in with the rock icon sometime in 1963.
Elvis promised Priscilla’s parents that he would marry their daughter. That didn’t stop her father from threatening the superstar with jail time. When news of the affair broke, Priscilla’s dad aimed to charge Elvis under the Mann Act, which entails “taking a minor across state lines for sexual purposes”. Elvis and Priscilla Presley had one child together, Lisa Marie, who went onto have quite a storied history in Hollywood on her own. Elvis and Priscilla did divorce in 1972, though they would forever be immortalized as a couple.
Olivia DeJonge is an up and coming actress, not entirely known. Baz Luhrmann had this to say about bringing in a fresh face for this important role in his Elvis biopic.
“Olivia is capable of manifesting the complex depth and presence that has made Priscilla Presley an icon in her own right. She’s an extremely talented young actor and the perfect counterpoint to Austin’s Elvis.”
The Elvis biopic is still without a proper title at this time. The movie will follow Elvis’ rise from being a poor singer to a global icon. It will also deal with Elvis’ complex relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker. The movie is shooting in early 2020, with Queensland, Australia stepping in to portray the backdrop of Memphis.
This particular take on the Elvis Presley story will span a complex and dynamic 20 year time frame, showing how Elvis rose to unprecedented stardom. This will be juxtaposed over an evolving cultural landscape as America loses its innocence. Priscilla Presley is playing a key role in this take on the often told tale of Presley’s life. Austin Butler was announced as Elvis earlier in the year, with Tom Hanks signing on very early in the process to play Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Olivia DeJonge is known in her native Australia, where she has worked quite a bit. She has appeared in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, The Sisterhood of the Night, Better Watch Out, and this year’s Stray Dolls. She is perhaps best known to American audiences for her role as Elle Tomkins in Netflix’s The Society. She has also appeared in TNT’s Will and Hiding.
Craig Pearce co-wrote this new Elvis movie alongside Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann is producing alongside Catherine Martin, who also serves as production designer and costume designer. Other producers include Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss. Andrew Mittman is executive producing. This news comes from Deadline.