Harry Styles is turning up the heat in “Don’t Worry Darling” and baring his bum in “My Policeman,” but Styles’ vocal chops are not getting the big-screen spotlight this year — despite Styles’ attempts.
Baz Luhrmann revealed that while Styles and Miles Teller were both in the running to play Elvis Presley in the eponymous musical biopic, in theaters June 24, Styles couldn’t be cast because he’s already a rockstar.
“Harry is a really talented actor. I would work on something with him [but] the real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles,” Luhrmann said during the Australian radio podcast “Fitzy & Wippa” (via Uproxx). “He’s already an icon.”
Former Disney Channel star and fellow triple threat Austin Butler instead is leading the film, along with Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
“Harry and I came to a place, genuinely I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore,” Luhrmann continued. “He’s such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles.”
And “Elvis” isn’t just the only high-profile film Styles was linked to: The “Harry’s House” artist dropped out of Robert Eggers’ upcoming “Nosferatu” remake due to tour scheduling conflicts. (To note, Styles wasn’t going to be a vampire, although we’d love to see it.)
As for “Elvis,” it took a little nudge from Denzel Washington to cast Austin Butler. The iconic Oscar winner and Butler’s former “The Iceman Cometh” co-star actually cold-called Luhrmann to cast Butler as Presley.
“The thing about Austin was that he will tell you himself, I didn’t pick him: It’s as if he was drawn, like the role drew [him] in, because he was almost born to play it,” Luhrmann said on “Fitzy & Wippa.” “You know, we can talk about it now, he like loses his mom at the same age that Elvis did. He just happened like two years non-stop living and breathing as Elvis. He’s now going through a sort of, it’s like, de-programming thing because he’s been a long time since he’s known who he was.”
The “Moulin Rouge!” auteur told IndieWire‘s Anne Thompson at Cannes following the film’s premiere that it was a “privilege” to see Styles and Teller’s respective takes on Presley during the workshop audition process.
“It’s a privilege for me that they would put themselves on the line and come in and work with me, because I learned about the script working with them,” Luhrmann said.
Yet after watching Butler’s audition tape of him singing “Unchained Melody” while crying sealed the deal for the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” actor to be cast as the King of Rock ‘n Roll.
“It was just strange. I mean, it was so moving,” Luhrmann added. “I thought, ‘This isn’t really acting.'”