Luhrmann, who is directing and co-writing the biopic for Warner Bros., shared the news on Twitter by posting two a photo of Butler and Presley.
Luhrmann also said that he “knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist.”
The director continued: “Throughout the casting process, it was an honour for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”
Butler started his acting career on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in the early 2000s when he was featured on shows such as Hannah Montana, Zoey 101, Wizards of Waverly Place and iCarly. He also played Zippy Brewster for two seasons on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.
Butler’s acting credits also include The Carrie Diaries, The Shannara Chronicles, Switched at Birth, Aliens in the Attic, Life Unexpected, The Bling Ring and The Dead Don’t Die.
He made his Broadway debut in 2018 in The Iceman Cometh, playing Don Parritt.
He’s also starring alongside Leonardo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
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Butler has been dating actress Vanessa Hudgens, 30, since 2011.
She congratulated her boyfriend by posting a Deadline article about the Presley biopic, writing, “I AMMMM OVERRRR THE FU–ING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT 😍😍😍😍😍😍 SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!”
Many celebrities commented on Hudgens’ post, congratulating Butler.
Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland wrote, “STOPPPPPP IT HAPPENED!!!!!!!! IM FREAKING OUT!!!!!! IM SO HAPPY! HE WORKED SO FRIKKIN HARD FOR THIS!!!”
Lily Collins‘ wrote, “So so so amazing!!! Congrats!!!”
“He deserves this!!! I’m so proud to see him doing what he loves to do! He’s so inspiring!!” High School Musical actress Ashley Tisdale wrote.
The movie will document the relationship between Presley and his manager, and the singer’s road to becoming an iconic star.
Tom Hanks will be playing Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker.
The movie is scheduled to begin shooting at the top of 2020 to accommodate Hanks’ schedule, according to Variety.
— With files from the Associated Press