Baz Luhrmann has revealed there is a four-hour version of his Elvis film.
The Elvis Presley biopic, which opens in cinemas on Thursday, is 159 minutes long, but its Australian director says there exists an even longer cut.
The movie stars Austin Butler as Presley and charts his rise from carnival singer to King of Rock and Roll to Las Vegas performer, through the lens of his long-time manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
“I mean, I have a four-hour version, actually. I do,” he told Radio Times. “But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30.”
In that longer cut, Luhrmann included more of Elvis’ relationship with his band, and the making of the song ‘Jailhouse Rock’.
“I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more,” Luhrmann explained. “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 gets rid of them.”
Dixie, Elvis’ first girlfriend, also played a pivotal role in the extended version.
He said, “The relationship with his first girlfriend, Dixie, you know. 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.”
Other scenes that didn’t make it to the theatrical cut include what Luhrmann referred to as “wackadoo things” like Elvis’ famous meeting with President Richard Nixon (an encounter that was turned into the 2016 movie Elvis & Nixon).
There were also more scenes of Elvis’ “addiction to barbiturates and all of that.”
It wasn’t easy for Luhrmann to let go of these scenes but in the end, he realised he “can’t have everything in, so I just tried to track the spirit of the character.”
Luhrmann didn’t say when he’ll put out the four-hour cut of Elvis. Chances are it’ll probably wind up on streaming services in the near future.
In 2019, Quentin Tarantino reissued his 168-min long The Hateful Eight on Netflix as a four-part mini-series, each with an average length of 50 minutes. Last year, Zack Snyder dropped his cut of Justice League as a four-hour magnum opus (two hours longer than the disavowed theatrical cut supervised by Joss Whedon) on HBO Max (or HBO Go in Singapore). Anita, the Anita Mui biopic, was dropped on Disney+ as an extended director’s cut, with an hour’s worth of bonus materials. — BANG SHOWBIZ
Photos: TPG News/Click Photos