/News 24.07.19


Baz Luhrmann will produce and direct his next masterpiece in Queensland with production starting next year.

‘We’re working in Queensland because the show is obviously set in the south, but also I got to say, the Queensland environment is on fire with bringing creativity there so it was a very attractive environment.’

Baz Luhrmann

Luhrmann will explore the life and music of Elvis Presley, including his rise to fame, his unprecedented stardom, and his impact on the world at large, while also delving into his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (portrayed by Tom Hanks)

Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk helped to secure the project, a Warner Bros. Pictures film, following a meeting with the legendary Australian director in London.

Luhrmann stated, “Australia continues to be one of the great filmmaking locations in the world, where we’ve created everything from Paris cabarets to the Jazz Age in New York.”

“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.”

“Along with 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.”

Tom Hanks is set to play the part of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s lifelong manager and just recently Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Dead Don’t Die) has been cast in the title role.

The production alone is expected to employ 900 Queenslanders in behind-the-scenes roles, including set construction, catering and transportation, and inject more than $105 million into the local economy.

The film, which is yet to be titled, will be the latest in a string of high-profile films produced in Australia’s Queensland, following on the heels of the hugely successful Aquaman and Thor: Ragnarok, the upcoming Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and the 2020 release Godzilla vs Kong.

The Premier said she was looking forward to welcoming the Warner Bros. production to Queensland’s world-class facilities, Village Roadshow Studios (VRS), on the Gold Coast.

“My government’s strategy to attract major feature productions continues to deliver for Queensland’s screen industry, bringing some of the biggest filmmakers in Hollywood to our shores,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.

“The continuous pipeline of major productions means the talented people working in Queensland’s screen industry have an opportunity to work with a legend like Baz Luhrmann.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

She also noted the benefits of hosting major international productions extended well beyond the screen industry itself.

“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,” she said.

Luhrmann, partnering again with production and costume designer Catherine Martin, has an enviable pedigree, with films including The Great GatsbyAustraliaMoulin RougeRomeo + Juliet and Strictly Ballroom collectively taking in over AU$1.2 billion at the box office.

The Warner Bros. production will also tap a new 10 percent tax incentive to bring work worth up to AU$35 million to NSW animation, VFX and post-production companies.

Watch Richard Wilkins’ interview with Baz Luhrmann:

Thanks to the Channel Nine Today Show with Richard Wilkins.