Austin Butler To Play Elvis In Big Screen Biopic

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Austin Butler, who has appeared on TV shows starring Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and the Jonas Brothers, will play Elvis Presley in a big screen biopic.

The California native, who turns 28 next month, reportedly beat out Harry Styles, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller for the coveted role. (According to some reports, rapper G-Eazy was also being considered.)

Director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby) explained in a statement to Deadline“I 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.

“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.”

Austin Butler in a Toronto bookstore in 2010. John R. Kennedy photo

Presley, nicknamed the King of Rock 'n' Roll, died in 1977 at 42.

Early in his career, Butler had small guest roles on Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and Jonas as well as kid-friendly shows like iCarly, Drake & Josh and Zoey 101. He can be seen in the new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Butler – who plays guitar and piano – appeared in three episodes of the Vancouver-shot series Arrow and co-starred with Ashley Tisdale in the made-in-Toronto Disney Channel flick Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

He has been in a relationship with Tisdale’s High School Musical co-star Vanessa Hudgens since 2011.

Luhrmann will direct the still-untitled Elvis film next year in Queensland, Australia. Tom Hanks will co-star as Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker.