Queensland’s Gold Coast rolled out the red carpet for Hollywood stars at the Australian premiere of the new Elvis biopic.
- Elvis stars Austin Butler as an American rock icon
- Australian director Baz Luhrmann joined actor Tom Hanks on the red carpet
- The film will be released in cinemas across Australia on June 23.
Oscar-winning Australian director Baz Luhrmann joined the cast of heavyweight stars on the Gold Coast on Saturday night, including Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Australian actress Olivia DeJonge.
The long-awaited movie captured worldwide attention after its premiere last month at the Cannes Film Festival.
Butler, who plays Elvis Presley, known as the king of rock ‘n’ roll, said portraying the American icon was “the privilege of my life”.
“It was so much fun every day,” he said.
“It was a lot of hard work, but every day you feel there is so much inspiration.
“It’s good to be back [on the Gold Coast] where we shot the movie.”
Hanks suffered from COVID while filming
The film made headlines in 2020 when, during filming, Hanks was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Despite its rocky start, Luhrmann said production went according to plan.
“After Tom’s initial shock [Hanks getting COVID-19]it was a dream shoot,” he said.
“We actually came on time and on budget.
“So many people gave so much. I mean, the restaurant owners who stayed open just to feed us. It was magical.”
Hanks didn’t stop to speak with fans or the media on the red carpet, instead posing for photos with his co-stars and leaving before the film began.
Butler said working with Hanks – his “hero” – was a “dream” and playing Elvis made him nervous “every day”.
“I used to wake up every day around three or four in the morning with my heart racing, just feeling the weight,” he said.
“It’s also been one of the greatest gifts it’s given me, because Elvis has talked a lot about his own stage fright, his own anxieties and stuff, and he’s done some pretty amazing things.
The film has as much glitz and glamor as the Elvis era.
Designer Catherine Martin said she designed more than 9,000 costumes before she stopped counting.
“It was kind of a crazy amount that I didn’t imagine at first,” she said.
“In terms of additional costumes alone, there were 9,000 full costumes just for the background cast.
“Austin had over 90 costumes as Elvis, and then it just gets to numbers that I can’t even think of.”
Viva Las Gold Coast
The epic was filmed and produced entirely on Queensland’s Glitter Strip, with Luhrmann moves the headquarters of his production company to Miami.
It drew thousands to Pacific Fair for the premiere, with some queuing for hours.
Australian stars including Lincoln Lewis, Troy Cassar-Daley, Lisa Curry and her Elvis impersonator husband Mark Tabone walked the red carpet alongside Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and of Governor Jeanette Young.
Ms Palaszczuk said she plans to make the Gold Coast the home of the stars.
“It says a lot about Queensland and what Queensland can do, we now have Hollywood here on the Gold Coast,” she said.
“I want to have a permanent film industry here on the Gold Coast for Queensland. And that’s Queensland jobs…that’s what it’s all about.”
Street art of Elvis fans has already started to appear in the city, with artist Matty Tapae painting a 12-metre mural in “dedication to the Elvis movie…just for love”.
“I just did this to thank Baz for bringing the premiere here and bringing the arts of the GC back to life,” he said.
The film is set to hit theaters on June 23.
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