‘Elvis’ Director Confirms 4-Hour Cut, Explains Massive Cuts to Theatrical

There’s officially a 4-hour cut that exists of Elvis. However, some audiences already complained over the 159-minute Elvis Presley biopic that hit theaters. Elvis director Baz Luhrmann recently confirmed this extended cut but also went as far as to explain why he made the cuts that he did. Additionally, he talked about when the world could expect to see a longer version of the movie.

‘Elvis’ director Baz Luhrmann confirmed a 4-hour cut

'Elvis' Austin Butler as Elvis Presley wearing sunglasses looking out of the car window with a neon sign reflected in the glass
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley | Warner Bros. Pictures

Steve Weintraub from Collider spoke with Luhrmann about Elvis, where he talked about the existence of a 4-hour cut of the movie. They asked the filmmaker about his editing style and how long it took for him to put the movie together. Luhrmann recognized that perhaps he shouldn’t have talked about this extended cut, but he did anyway.

“I’ve got this actually great team,” Luhrmann responded. “I have two editors that I work with, Mattie and Johno, Matt Villa and Johno Redmond. Then they have a vast team around them. But you’re so right, Steven. See, I look upon editing as writing. I write it, then I shoot it. But then I keep writing it in a sense through editorial. Because also I’ve got a 4-hour version. I shouldn’t say that, but I have.”

Baz Luhrmann explains why he made ‘Elvis’ massive cuts

Luhrmann told Collider about the long process of getting a final Elvis cut. There were a lot of scenes that the director felt attached to, including some dramatic moments involving the jungle room at Graceland. However, he had to make a lot of tough decisions to ultimately get Elvis where it could result in a final cut for theaters. Luhrmann wanted to make a version of Elvis that felt accessible on the silver screen.

“It’s an assembly,” Luhrmann stated. “It’s a different kind of movie. I wanted to make a movie for the theater, right? I make theatrical movies. My mission is to make a movie that’s not a franchise movie. All respect to franchise movies by the way. I love my Batman.”

Luhrmann continued: “But I want to make a movie that cross generations, will come in that’s not a franchise and sit in a dark room with strangers and commune in a vast American story, a vast American opera. That’s what I hope this will be and that’s what I’m fighting for is to try and bring audiences of all types back to the theater.”

The extended cut could release years down the road

Collider asked Luhrmann when he would release his extended cut of Elvis if he could make the decision, but that answer wasn’t so simple.

“So, I’ve just been going through this experience on, I did Australia, but Hulu … It’s funny, the same executive, well, Hulu have asked me would I do an episodic version and I’ve just about finished it,” Luhrmann said. “It’s actually so funny because I feel like it’s a variation on. If you write a piece of music, it’s a variation on. I think it’s a really legitimate telling. It’s not just filler. I can’t even begin to conceive what a longer version of this would be right now.”

Luhrmann concluded: “But the idea that there’s a different riff on this theatrical version, that’s years down the road. It’s years down the road, but it’s possible. But I can’t underline enough, it’s not tomorrow. It’s years down the road.”

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