Elvis Movie Is Musical Apocalypse, Says Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis biopic aims to take the music genre to new heights, with Luhrmann saying it’s the genre’s Apocalypse Now.

Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann says his next Elvis the biopic is the Revelation now of musicals. It’s been almost a decade since Luhrmann released a new feature film, his latest release being a 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel, Gatsby the magnificentin 2013. The film won two Oscars and proved once again that Luhrmann’s ability to take a familiar subject and completely reimagine it was still his strongest asset.

However, after the success of gatsby, Luhrmann decided to turn to the growing streaming TV market. Netflix asked him to bring his unique appreciation of the musical genre to the public with Lowering, a television series centered on teenagers from the South Bronx during New York’s cultural heyday in the 1970s. Unfortunately for Luhrmann, the experiment proved a failure, and Netflix parted ways with the series in 2017 after a single season. In the years following the death of Lowering, Luhrmann has been hard at work on what some might consider the biopic subject of all biopic subjects: rock n’ roll legend Elvis Presley. by Luhrmann Elvis will hit theaters in just over a month, with up-and-coming actor Austin Butler in the film’s lead role.

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Anticipation remains high for Elvis, with Luhrmann’s reputation for flamboyant visuals and busy frames once again expected. But while fans are ready to hit theaters as soon as possible, Luhrmann argues that the film is not a biopic and instead is “a cultural opera in three acts.” Indeed, in a recent interview with EOthe 59-year-old filmmaker went even further by comparing Elvis to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic hit Revelation now stating that it was “the Apocalypse Now of musicals”:

The Apocalypse Now of musicals is what I joked about calling the movie – and it’s the 70s period. It’s so sprawling and it’s beautiful, but it’s powerful. It is a pop-cultural opera in three acts.


Martin Sheen as Benjamin Willard in Apocalypse Now

Even by Luhrmann’s standards, that’s a bold statement. Revelation now is arguably more famous for the extremely difficult lengths Coppola went to just to get the film going than the actual film with audiences. On top of all that, the film’s brutal story about the horrors of war sets it apart from the worlds of Luhrmann’s. Elvis. Nonetheless, Luhrmann’s tongue-in-cheek comparison makes some sense, in that he’s trying to do something with the genre of music that audiences really haven’t seen before. This level of ambition is pure Luhrmann, and although he seems to be expecting huge things from Elvislike most of his films, it already feels like it will either be a huge hit or a substantial flop.


Probably the biggest challenge Elvis faces, however, does not revolutionize the musical. Instead, it appeals to an audience that didn’t grow up listening to Elvis and really doesn’t know much about him. One could argue that Luhrmann didn’t make the movie for this demographic and instead appeals to Elvis fans. But times change, and so does music, and today Elvis’ popularity may not be enough to make the film a success. Again, this is the same filmmaker who made Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet in a blockbuster, which means anything is possible when it comes to Luhrmann’s chances.


Next: Why Elvis Thought Clambake Was His Worst Movie

Source: EO

  • Elvis (2022)Release date: June 24, 2022

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