After years of searching for the right star, and crafting the exact story he wanted to tell, Baz Luhrmann is getting ready to release his masterful biopic Elvis this week. The runtime for the film clocks in at 2 hours and 39 minutes, making for a pretty long movie, but as it turns out, this was after Luhrmann whittled it down from a 4-hour run.
In a recent interview with Variety, Luhrmann talked about the runtime, as well as what scenes had to be removed to make it move forward:
“I mean, I have a four-hour version, actually. I do. But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30… I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more – there’s so much more. I mean, there’s lots of stuff that I shot like the relationship with the band, I had to pare [that] down – and it’s so interesting how the Colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them.”
The four-hour cut also included a greater exploration of Elvis’ relationship with “first girlfriend, Dixie.” Luhrmann went on to say:
“And later on how… once he’s caught in a trap, and he’s discombobulated and doesn’t understand… someone who’s got such a hole in his heart like Elvis constantly looking and searching for love and finding it on stage but nowhere else.”
Luhrmann also shot scenes that tackled Elvis’ “addiction to barbiturates and all of that.” The filmmaker added:
“What happens is he starts doing wackadoo things – like going down to see Nixon. I had it in there for a while but there just comes a point where you can’t have everything in, so I just tried to track the spirit of the character.”
It almost makes me wish that Luhrmann had made the film into a series, but oh well. I can’t wait to watch the movie. Elvis hits theatres this Friday, June 24th.