Production on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic in Australia has been suspended indefinitely after the Warner Bros. project was hit by star Tom Hanks’ positive test for the coronavirus last week. In a statement posted to his personal Twitter account, Luhrmann confirmed that the project had been halted and that now “is not the moment to be resuming production on the film.
“The Australian director did, however, commit to returning to the production as soon as possible. “All going well, we have a passionate conviction to be back here on the Gold Coast, picking up where we left off as soon as the time is right,” he wrote. “In fact, we are not even taking our sets down, simply locking up the creative space over the next few days. We all agree that right now this is the right time for people all over the world, from all walks of life, to be at home, indoors, with their loved ones (washing our hands five times a day),” Luhrmann added.
“Despite valiant efforts, due to current world events, production on the Elvis film cannot proceed at this time. We will commence principal photography once circumstances permit,” Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Principal photography was due to start next week. Production staff on the film were told to take time off until June or July according to local reports.
The as yet-titled biopic was in preproduction on Australia’s Gold Coast when Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, the Hollywood couple, both 63, were out of the hospital and continuing to self-isolate at a rented home in Australia. Newcomer Austin Butler will play Presley in the biopic with Maggie Gyllenhaal cast as Gladys Presley, the singer’s mother.
Hanks is set to play Col. Tom Parker, the manager who controlled every aspect of Presley’s life. Butler is set to play Elvis and Australian actress Olivia DeJonge will portray Priscilla Presley. The movie is described as focusing on Presley’s rise to stardom, with a particular focus on the star’s relationship with Parker. The film is slated for release in October 2021. Luhrmann is producing the feature with his wife, Catherine Martin. He wrote the script with Craig Pearce, with whom he also wrote The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge!
See Luhrmann’s tweet below.
— Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann) March 20, 2020