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Austin Butler chosen to play Elvis Presley in upcoming biopic

Director Baz Luhrmann has chosen an actor to star in his upcoming Elvis Presley biopic. After reportedly considering five actors for the role, Luhrmann picked Austin Butler to play "The King of Rock and Roll," Deadline reports.

Luhrmann revealed that his Elvis would be played by Butler in an Instagram post on Monday, sharing a simple "swipe left" – one image was Elvis' army photo, the next was a photo of Butler.

In an exclusive statement to Deadline, Luhrmann explained his decision in choosing 27-year-old Butler. "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," Luhrmann said in his statement to Deadline.

"Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in 'The Iceman Cometh' on Broadway and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world's most iconic musical figures," Luhrmann said.

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Luhrmann said he heard about Butler from his role in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, "and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world's most iconic musical figures." Getty/AP

In the untitled Elvis biopic, Butler will act alongside Tom Hanks, who will play Elvis' controlling manager, Col. Tom Parker. The film will start shooting in Australia early next year, according to Deadline.

According to Entertainment Tonight, rumors had been swirling for a while now that Butler, who also appears alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, would portray the iconic role of Presley. Butler was in the running for the role alongside Ansel Elgort, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Miles Teller and Harry Styles. 

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Which of these five men will play Elvis Presley? Three are actors and two are singers, and all are in the running to play the King of Rock and Roll.

As a young actor, Butler had several roles on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, including the "High School Musical" spinoff "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure." He made his Broadway debut in 2018 and will appear in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," alongside Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

Butler's longtime girlfriend and fellow Disney Channel star, Vanessa Hudgens, posted about the big news, writing on Instagram that she is "over the moon" that Butler was cast as Elvis. 

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