Warner Bros. Pictures released the Elvis trailer on February 17, 2022. This news article contains spoilers for the 195-second teaser clip. Keep up with the latest industry headlines in the Vague Visages News section.
The Elvis trailer celebrates the King of Rock and Roll. Austin Butler (The Shannara Chronicles, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) stars as the late Elvis Presley, a Mississippi-born musician who introduced Southern blues music to mainstream America during the late 50s. The great Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan) portrays Colonel Tom Parker, a Dutch-American entrepreneur who helped Elvis transform into a pop culture icon. Directed by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!), the 163-minute film explores the subject’s rise and tragic decline over the course of 20 years.
At first glance, the glossy aesthetics of the Elvis trailer make sense, at least when factoring in Luhrmann’s filmography. Everything is amplified: stage design, character costumes, the overall color palette. But whereas that formula may have worked for a Romeo and Juliet tale in the mid-90s, or for a Parisian story about early 20th century Montmartre performers (Moulin Rouge!), I’m not convinced that it translates well for an Elvis biopic. Butler seems like a natural fit for the lead role, but his facial expressions in the Elvis trailer remind more of John Mayer’s guitar face than the subject himself. And for anyone who’s vaguely familiar with Hanks, the heavy prosthetics will likely feel distracting, especially in a film that’s nearly three hours long.
Where is Olivia DeJonge in the Elvis trailer? The Australian actress does indeed appear in a few shots as Priscilla Presley, but she doesn’t have a big speaking moment. The official description of the Elvis trailer describes The King’s wife as being one of “the most significant and influential people” in his life, and that she’s “central” to the “journey.” Butler will undoubtedly be the film’s breakout star, but I imagine that DeJonge will steal key scenes and once again elevate her industry status after headlining M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit (2015), Chris Peckover’s Better Watch Out (2015) and Christopher Keyser’s 2019 Netflix series The Society. For marketing purposes, Warner Bros. probably wanted to emphasize the Elvis-Colonel Parker dynamic in the official Elvis trailer. The second Elvis trailer will theoretically focus on the Elvis-Priscilla love story.
Elvis’ supporting cast includes Helen Thomson (Stupid Stupid Man, Bad Mothers), Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge!, Van Helsing), Luke Bracey (Point Break, Little Fires Everywhere), Natasha Bassett (Hail, Caesar!, Operation Buffalo), David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings, The Letter for the King), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce, Waves), Xavier Samuel (Fury, Tell Me Your Secrets) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Power of the Dog). Check out the Elvis trailer below.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.