Baz Luhrmann to shoot Elvis biopic in Queensland

May 1, 2019
The Sydney bred filmmaker has chosen The Sunshine State to make his next project.

The Oscar-nominated director of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Australia and The Great Gatsby will once again use all that Queensland has to offer for his new film.

“Since shooting significant portions of the film Australia in Queensland, I’ve been excited to get back to such a conducive creative environment to realise this film,” he said in a statement from the Queensland government.

The project, that has already cast two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks as Elvis’ lifelong manager Colonel Tom Parker, is set to massively boost Queensland’s thriving creative space. The film will bring over 900 jobs for Queenslanders and a $105 million boost to the local economy.

While The King [not to be confused with Graham Kennedy] himself never performed in Australia, the film exploring his life, music and rise to fame will be made here. It is co-written by Sam Bromell (The Get Down) and Luhrmann’s regular collaborator Craig Pearce.

“Along with CM [Costume Designer, Catherine Martin] and my entire team, I am committed to not only making the film, but also developing Queensland’s creative culture and supporting filmmakers, storytellers and artists of all kinds, in the same manner that we ourselves were supported and mentored early in our careers.”

“The succession of Queensland-made films continues to showcase our unmatched and pristine tourism destinations to the world, bringing thousands of visitors to our shores,” said Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was key to getting the project greenlit. She tweeted the pic here as part of her announcement announcement about securing the production for the state.

With only one main character cast so far, a large “wide net” search is underway to find an actor to play the lead role. The actor, according to People Magazine Online, needs to be “between the ages of 19 and 28 who can portray the singer’s shy vulnerability masking his unshakeable faith in his own destiny.” Anyone interested in the role can send photos to [email protected].

The Elvis biopic will join the ranks of previous Hollywood hits filmed in Queensland including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, Dora the Explorer, Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island and its currently in production sequel Godzilla vs Kong.

Apart from the diversity of locations, the Queensland government is the most supportive of all Australian states in terms of offering financial incentives to these massive productions, along with the multi-purpose use of Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow Studios. In fact, even Pacific Rim: Uprising, which was touted as a NSW production, mostly made at Sydney’s Fox Studios and surrounds, shot a number of sequences in Queensland, and we hear on the grapevine that the upcoming Marvel movie may struggle to be accommodated by NSW when it looks to shoot here later this year. We guess if this was the State of Origin, the Maroons are on a winning streak.


  1. Elle McGann

    One of the best Elvis singers/impersonators I have seen is Australian Elvis “Jack Gatto” from Geelong. I hope Baz considers him. I first heard him sing Elvis songs as he strummed his guitar as a teenager and the raw uncanny likeness to Elvis took my breath away. He is such a natural, modest performer and has a deep love and respect for Elvis. I am a huge Elvis fan and I was blown away by Jack Gatto’s amazing Concert at Melbourne City Hall a couple of years ago.

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