Priscilla Presley praises ‘Elvis’ biopic starring Austin Butler: ‘He had big shoes to fill’


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Priscilla Presley gave a new biopic about Elvis Presley her stamp of approval.

The 76-year-old recently took to Facebook and praised director Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month ahead of Warner Bros. releasing the film theatrically on June 24.

The “Naked Gun” actress said she saw the movie with her late ex-husband’s longtime pal Jerry Schilling and was impressed by Austin Butler taking on the titular role.

“The story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker’s relationship,” Presley wrote. “It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered. Austin Butler, who played Elvis, is outstanding.”


Elvis Presley and bride Priscilla Presley May 1, 1967.

Elvis Presley and bride Priscilla Presley May 1, 1967.
(Getty Images)

“Halfway through the film Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW!!!” she shared. “Bravo to him…he knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine.”

Presley also recalled meeting Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, who is played by Tom Hanks.

“What a character he was,” she reflected. “There was two sides to Colonel, Jerry and I witnessed both. The story, as we all know, does not have a happy ending. But I think you will understand a little bit more of Elvis’ journey, penned by a director who put his heart and soul and many hours into this film.”

Presley said “I do” to Elvis in 1967. They welcomed a daughter named Lisa Marie Presley the following year. The couple eventually called it quits, and their divorce was finalized in 1973. The singer died in 1977 at age 42.


Priscilla Presley attends the premiere of HBO's "Elvis Presley: The Searcher" at The Belcourt Theatre March 18, 2018, in Nashville. 

Priscilla Presley attends the premiere of HBO’s “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” at The Belcourt Theatre March 18, 2018, in Nashville. 
(Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Butler beat out numerous contenders to play the King, including Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and others.

In a statement released by Warner Bros., Luhrmann explained his decision to cast the 30-year-old, saying he “knew unequivocally” that he was the perfect fit for 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,” said the 59-year-old.

Austin Butler was chosen to play Elvis Presley in the upcoming biopic.

Austin Butler was chosen to play Elvis Presley in the upcoming biopic.
(Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)

“Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent,” the “Moulin Rouge!” director shared. “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.”


Presley previously shared that Lana Del Rey, who was rumored to be in the running to portray her in the upcoming film, would be an appropriate choice. Australian actress Olivia DeJonge went on to nab the role.


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