It was revealed Tuesday (July 2) that Harry Styles, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ansel Elgort and Austin Butler have all tested to portray Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
But which of the five men have both the acting and musical chops to sport Presley’s blue suede shoes? Make an educated guess by checking out each of their music-centric pursuits below.
The most obvious musical choice, Styles has two wildly successful projects under his belt with One Direction and his just-starting solo career. Though his only venture into acting thus far has been in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, it was quite a prestigious start and his performance was solid. Even while still in his boy-band stage, Styles stood out with his retro style and versatile voice, like in this SNL performance of “Night Changes.”
Upon breaking out on his own, Styles became increasingly rock-influenced, debuting a surprisingly different sound with his self-titled album in 2017. Since then, he has performed with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and cites Harry Nilsson as a major inspiration. His live in-studio performance of the song “Kiwi” with guitar in-hand makes it easy to envision him as the King.
Teller definitely looks the part, with a very similar facial structure and stature to Elvis. Though he has yet to sing in one of his movies, Teller joined Keith Urban onstage in New Mexico in 2016 for a cover of “My Girl” by The Temptations. The performance seems semi-joking in nature, but Teller has potential.
There isn’t any other footage of Teller singing, but he has starred in two music-based movies: 2011’s Footloose remake and the critically acclaimed Whiplash. As the lovable character Willard Hewitt in Footloose, his journey learning to dance looks promising for Elvis’ signature hip swivels.
Taylor-Johnson is the most experienced of the bunch when it comes to musician biopics. He played John Lennon in the 2009 film Nowhere Boy, which focused on Lennon’s life before fame. Delivering impressive vocals and perfectly coiffed hair, there’s no doubt that he could pull off Elvis’ look. Taylor-Johnson’s performance as Lennon is also incredibly emotive, proving he has the acting skills as well.
Before Nowhere Boy, Taylor-Johnson played another musician in the 2008 British coming-of-age flick Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. Though all the music was recorded by real-life band Stiff Dylans, he stood in for the bass player and looked great doing it.
Elgort of The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver fame definitely has the heartthrob status to play Elvis. He’s also a singer and DJ, having released a few singles over the past three years and many covers on Instagram. Though Elgort does have a good voice, his songs (and their accompanying videos) might need a little work.
But on The Late Late Show With James Corden back in 2017, Elgort made it clear he’s great at re-creating classic music with a short cover of Commodores‘ “Easy,” so maybe he could work some magic with Elvis’ catalog too. Also, he’s starring as Tony in Steven Spielberg’s 2020 West Side Story remake, so we’ll soon have a better idea of Elgort’s musical chops.
Butler is the most unexpected on this short list. Besides having very few musical moments, his résumé mostly consists of television. However, back in 2012, he portrayed a band member on the short-lived NBC show Are You There, Chelsea?, playing guitar and serenading Lauren Lapkus’ character.
He was also a musician on an episode of iCarly, though the punch line is that his character’s voice is so horrible it has to be digitally enhanced. Butler later released the song from the show, “Whatever My Love,” with his real vocals. It’s sweet, but no “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”