Queensland snags Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic

Baz Luhrmann with Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Baz Luhrmann will produce and direct his next film, a biopic on Elvis Presley for Warner Bros, in Queensland.

Tom Hanks will play Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s lifelong manager. The filmmaker is casting a wide net for an actor to play the young Elvis, who is described as shy and vulnerable but with a strong sense of his own destiny.

The production 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 screenplay by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce will chart Presley’s rise to fame and his impact on the world while also delving into his complicated relationship with Parker.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk secured the project during a meeting with the director in London. The production qualifies for the 40 per cent Producer Offset and has a reported budget of more than $200 million.

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 realize this film.

“Along with CM (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 untitled film is the latest in a string of high-profile films produced in Queensland, following Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarök, Dora and the Lost City of Gold and the 2020 release Godzilla vs Kong.

The Premier said she is looking forward to welcoming the Warner Bros. production to the Village Roadshow Studios.

“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,” she said.