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Six months after production on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic shut down, the cast and crew are getting back together this month to continue work on the film in Queensland, Australia. The shutdown initially sent shockwaves through to Hollywood in March when Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, became the first major figures to test positive for COVID-19, leading to a slew of other production closures.
The movie stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock n’ Roll and Tom Hanks as his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, throughout their 20 year relationship as Elvis Presley rose to prominence in the ‘50s. Baz Luhrmann’s film is set to go back to Australia to pick up where they left off on September 23, per Deadline. The cast and crew are currently quarantining in anticipation to get back to it later this month. In the director’s words:
We’re back to, as Elvis liked to say, ‘taking care of business!’ It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on Elvis. I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we feel in the current climate that the state of Queensland, and Queenslanders in general, have been so supportive of this film. We thank our partners in the Queensland Government and Queensland Health for their extremely diligent process, so that we can be an example how creativity and productivity can proceed safely and responsibly in a way that protects our team and the community at large. We are all excited to start working with Tom Hanks when he is out of quarantine in two weeks.
Warner Bros’ Elvis movie, which is expected to be released in late 2021, officially packed things up on March 19 following Tom Hanks confirming he’d tested positive for COVID-19. He and his wife then quarantined, exhibiting their symptoms Down Under until they were cleared to fly back to their home in Los Angeles.
According to Baz Luhrmann, the production was in the middle of a scene involving “basically hundreds of girls kissing Elvis” when the world shifted course in March toward safe social distancing protocols and worldwide business closures, including movie theaters. The risk of sets infecting its cast and crew is very much a possibility, as The Batman set has clearly shown since its main star, Robert Pattinson, reportedly tested positive and the set was recently shut down again. But productions such as this one are certainly ready to try to be productive on their high-profile movies.
The Elvis film is Baz Luhrmann’s first movie since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, and along with producing, he also co-wrote the feature with Sam Bromell, Saving Mr. Banks’ Kelly Marcel and Moulin Rouge’s Craig Pearce. The Visit’s Olivia DeJonge will portray Priscilla Presley, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell will play Elvis’ parents.
The movie is certainly not an easy one to film under the circumstances. You’d expect an Elvis movie would be roaring with concert crowds and sex appeal. We’ll keep you updated on Tom Hanks’ upcoming film, which is expected to come out on November 5, 2021, here on CinemaBlend.