Austin Butler performed full Elvis concerts, Baz Luhrmann reveals

Austin Butler in Elvis
Austin Butler in Elvis (Image credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis was one of the major hits of the summer, thanks in no small part to the acclaimed performance of Austin Butler as Presley. One of the things that made Butler's performance so special was his ability to embody Elvis, particularly when he was on stage performing. However, we apparently only got a taste of what Butler did in those instances.

IndieWire (opens in new tab) shared bits of an interview it did with Luhrmann where the director revealed that Butler performed full Elvis concerts in character and that he plans to assemble the footage for what is being described as a "concert cut" of the movie.

"There's a whole lot of material that adds up to four hours, but I have gone on record now to say not today, not tomorrow, but at some point I would do [it,]" Luhrmann is quoted talking about assembling this footage.

Luhrmann added: "... Austin did his concerts full out. He did all the numbers. Austin just did it and it was an out of body experience to watch him do those full concerts, so one day I will cut those full concerts together."

The Elvis movie features Butler's rendition of many iconic performances from the King, including his concert at Russwood Park, his famous 1968 comeback special and many of his Las Vegas shows. It is unclear if which, or all, of these performances would get the longer cut that Luhrmann plans.

Previously, Butler commented on how they filmed these concert performances to The Film Stage (opens in new tab). "So I would come on stage, like in Vegas, do the entire concert, curtain comes down, I walk off," Butler said. "So every time the audience is getting the experience of the show. And if we would cut for any reason, I would entertain the crowd as Elvis. It was the same thing as him having to make jokes to keep everyone entertained."

This is just another fun layer to Butler's performance, which What to Watch's Elvis review particularly praised. Butler is expected to be in the running for some end-of-year awards, perhaps even the Oscars.

We don't know when this additional concert footage may come, but you can watch Elvis right now on HBO Max in the US and on digital on-demand in the UK.

In addition to Butler, the Elvis cast features Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Helen Thomas, Richard Roxburgh, Kodi Smit-McPhee, David Wenham, Luke Bracey and Dacre Montgomery.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).