Director Baz Luhrmann says new movie portrays Elvis' 'almost operatic' life

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Austin Butler, Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks. (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Austin Butler, Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Editor's note: This segment was rebroadcast on March 7, 2023. Click here for that audio. 

Australian director Baz Luhrmann has called himself a romance addict, so perhaps it's no surprise that his new movie is a sort of love letter to Elvis Presley. And true to Luhrmann movies — think "Moulin Rouge," "Australia," "The Great Gatsby" — it's big. But so was Elvis, who remains the greatest-selling solo artist of all time.

Born in Tupelo, Miss., Elvis grew up in a Black community, got his start in Memphis and rose like a comet. He fought stereotypes — wearing flamboyant clothing and makeup. He also fought racism, wrote protest songs, and eventually fell in the same meteoric style, falling prey to manipulation, drugs and alcohol.

Luhrmann joins Here & Now's Robin Young to talk about Elvis' life, and his new movie, starring Austin Butler as Elvis and Tom Hanks as the manager who promoted, shaped and took advantage of the vulnerable "King of Rock and Roll."

This segment aired on June 20, 2022.


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