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The “Elvis” Cast on the “Intimidating” Task of Portraying Cultural Figures

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Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated “Elvis” film is a dream come true for the entire ensemble cast. Two weeks before the just-released movie’s worldwide premiere, “Elvis” stars Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Alton Mason, and Yola sit in disbelief at Elvis Presley’s former home, Graceland in Memphis, TN, as they share with POPSUGAR how grateful they are to be part of such a big moment.

“. . . to sort of bring it back home is so, so special.”

“It’s so exciting,” DeJonge — who portrays Priscilla Presley — says. “To be in Memphis, too. We’ve been touring for what feels like an eternity (only a couple of weeks), but to sort of bring it back home is so, so special.” Mason and Yola — who star as rock ‘n’ roll icons Little Richard and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, respectively — echo DeJonge’s sentiments, saying they’re “feeling all the feelings” about the new movie.

Most of members of the “Elvis” cast portray figures that were in the spotlight long before their time, with iconic legacies to match, and they all admit to feeling nerves about depicting them on screen. “I think I’d be crazy [to say] it wasn’t an all-around intimidating experience for me,” DeJonge shares. “Luckily, I was so pleasantly surprised by all the players on this film, whether that’s Tom [Hanks], Austin, Baz. They all are incredibly knowledgeable, very open, and very present with you, which I think are all really important qualities when you’re stepping into a film like this.”

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Unlike the average music biopic, Luhrmann’s “Elvis” is hard to categorize as it offers a new story about the late rock ‘n’ roll singer’s epic rise and fall, all told from his manager Colonel Tom Parker’s (played by Hanks) perspective.

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Set during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, “Elvis” takes a close look at Elvis’s active years as one of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll stars in American history. From his early days growing up in Memphis, to the city’s Black musicians that inspired him, to his relationship with ex-wife Priscilla, Luhrmann’s take on Elvis is unique.

The cast call the film an “electric,” “balance-redressing” “spectacle” that’s a whirlwind of bold theatrics. “It’s like the Looney Tunes thing that Warner Bros. has, when it swirls around and it feels like you jump into the hole in ‘Space Jam,'” Harrison remarks. “That’s what this movie’s like. You jump into it and then you kind of go, ‘Whoa, Elvis.'”

Read what else the “Elvis” cast have to say about starring in the new film, in theaters now.


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