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Austin Butler breaks the rules in the new Elvis trailer

Elvis Presley is such a revered figure in the world of music that it’s easy to forget that he wasn’t always the King of Rock and Roll. In fact, there was a time when the establishment thought that Elvis was just a troublemaker. In the latest trailer for director Baz Luhrmann’s lavish biopic, Elvis, Austin Butler’s title character is warned not to perform any of his signature gyrations on stage during the early part of his career. In fact, Elvis is told that he can’t even wiggle a finger. So of course, that’s the first thing that Elvis does before breaking into his act.

According to Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), that’s the moment that Elvis the man gave way to Elvis the god. As recounted in the trailer, Parker represented Elvis as his manager and helped propel him to stardom. However, their relationship was complex, especially when Elvis’ star began to fade and his personal scandals threatened to tear down everything that he had built.

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Here’s the official description of the film, courtesy of Warner Bros.

“A thoroughly cinematic drama, Elvis’s (Butler) story is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).”

Austin Butler in Elvis.

Helen Thomson also stars in the film as Elvis’ mother, Gladys Presley, with Richard Roxburgh as Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley. Luke Bracey co-stars as Jerry Schilling, with Natasha Bassett as Dixie Locke, Patrick Sheare as Dewey Phillips, David Wenham as Hank Snow, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Josh McConville as Sam Phillips, Kate Mulvany as Marion Keisker, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as B.B. King, and Xavier Samuel as Scotty Moore.

Elvis will gyrate into theaters on June 24.

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The first time we get a good look at the title character of Baz Luhrmann’s caffeinated Wikipedia spectacular, Elvis, he’s stepping out of the shadows and onto a stage in Louisiana, ready to perform for a crowd totally unaware that they’re about to witness the coronation of the future king of rock ’n’ roll. Decked out in pink from shoulders to ankles, the 19-year-old heartthrob hesitates, and the audience, smelling blood, heckles him. But then Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) launches into the opening notes of what will become his first national hit, Baby, Let’s Play House, and as he belts and strums, his body lurches and thrusts. He moves as if struck by lightning, and the electric current passes through the whole venue, jolting awake the young women in attendance, their libidos instantly sparked by his suggestive country-preacher gyrations.

Too many biopics to count include a star-is-born moment like this one. But Luhrmann, the irrepressible carnival-barker glutton behind Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, stages the sequence with a hellzapoppin' flair that pushes it past cliché, on to parody, and then beyond that still, to a fever pitch of cartoon hysteria. A thunderbolt of electric guitar embellishes the song, sacrificing historical realism on the altar of cross-era, arena-rock glory. And the girls don’t just scream. They explode into a kind of involuntary rapture, as if possessed by the spirit of Presley’s raw animal magnetism. Supercharging a stock music-drama convention, Luhrmann reaches for the heights of myth: The rise of a radio god as a one-man sexual revolution, releasing all the pent-up frustration of America’s youth and halving history in the process.

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But as seen in the early trailers for the film, Butler embodies Elvis Presley to an uncanny degree. This is also evident in a newly released behind-the-scenes video that features test footage of Butler in costume and makeup as Elvis while performing the King's That's All Right. And if you didn't already know better, you could almost believe that Butler is Elvis in this clip.

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