Baz Luhrmann has found his Elvis Presley. The director cast Austin Butler as the King of Rock ’n’ Roll in his upcoming biopic — and the actor’s longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, is beyond thrilled.
“I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F–KING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN,” the High School Musical star, 30, wrote on Instagram on Monday, July 15. “I CANT WAIT ?????? SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!”
Several other celebrities took to the comments section of Hudgens’ post to give Butler, 27, their stamp of approval. Sarah Hyland wrote, “STOPPPPPP IT HAPPENED!!!!!!!! IM FREAKING OUT!!!!!! IM SO HAPPY! HE WORKED SO FRIKKIN HARD FOR THIS!!!” Pretty Little Liars alum Ashley Benson simply commented, “Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Several young actors were in the running for the coveted role as the multitalented but troubled music icon, who died at the age of 42 in August 1977. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Luhrmann, 56, had narrowed down his hopefuls to Butler, Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. TMZ reported that G-Eazy also made a strong push for the part, although he was not a top contender.
Warner Bros. Pictures formally announced on Monday that Butler landed the role. “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 a statement.
“Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent,” the Moulin Rouge! director continued. “I had heard about Austin Butler from his standout 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.”
Warner Bros. also announced that Tom Hanks will play Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Butler, who has been dating Hudgens since 2011, previously starred in Freeform’s Switched at Birth and The CW’s The Carrie Diaries. He also plays Tex Watson opposite Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
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