‘Elvis’ Director Explains Why Elvis Presley’s Hair Was Included in His 4 Rules

Elvis filmmaker Baz Luhrmann explained that the hair of Elvis Presley was so important that it became one of his four rules. Additionally, the sweat continuity also played an extremely pivotal role in bringing the biopic to the silver screen. Presley had iconic hair that certainly had a big part to play in the movie.

The ‘Elvis’ trailer made a big impact with fans

'Elvis' Austin Butler as Elvis Presley with the iconic hair, wearing black with production people rushing behind him
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley | Warner Bros. Pictures

Luhrmann is releasing a major feature this year combining music and film with Elvis. However, plenty of the iconic musician’s fans worried about how the filmmaker would bring him to life on the silver screen. Presley had a lot of legendary elements to him, including his voice, body movements, and hair. Actor Austin Butler impressed many audiences with the initial trailer that hit the Internet.

Posters released after the trailer raised some concerns regarding how Butler looks in the role. Depending on the camera angle, some folks believed that the actor looked too orange. Others didn’t like other elements of the actor’s makeup, such as his eye makeup. Nevertheless, the critics’ consensus remained positive from advance screenings.

Baz Luhrmann made Elvis Presley’s hair one of his 4 rules

Kevin McCarthy interviewed Luhrmann about the importance of hair and sweat continuity in Elvis. The director was immediately impressed with the question, as no other member of the press asked him that before. He gave a fascinating response about how Presley’s hair and sweat continuity ultimately played into the film, but other rules also weighed of equal importance.

“I have four rules in my company: communication, transportation, accommodation, and hair,” Luhrmann said. “The reason hair is in there is that hair can bring you down and I can’t tell you how much work is put into monitoring sweat continuity and hair continuity, and getting the hair right.”

Luhrmann continued: “Austin had caps printed at the end of the movie that goes, ‘The hair has spoken’ because there would be moments where we’d be doing this and I had a wonderful hair team. We’d be working on hair … ‘OK, everyone, the hair has spoken, let’s go.’ That’s how important getting the hair right is.”

“And when it’s Elvis, of course, Elvis was a genius,” Luhrmann said about Presley’s hair. “He had like three pomades in the 50s and he knew how to throw his hair around to make images. So, the answer is yes and triple yes.”

Did Austin Butler actually sing?

Elvis really flexes the strength of hair and makeup to make Butler’s transformation possible. However, this role also required him to sing as young Presley. Luhrmann explained the amount that the actor actually sang in the movie.

“He sings all young Elvis, that is Austin,” Luhrmann confirmed. “Now, I had to post that costume test where he’s just riffing, and still, thousands of people come back and say, ‘But is he really singing?’ That’s not a mic. He’s not mic’d. That’s just the area mic. He’s sitting on there and he’s riffing.”

Luhrman concluded: “But, when we get later and we’re using real Elvis’ voice, where it’s really important that it is Elvis, absolutely. He sings along with it because you need the body to move, the breathing to move, so he sings along. But, then we replace that with the real Elvis voice because sometimes, like for ‘Unchained Melody,’ it’s a historic recording. You want to understand that you’re hearing the words of Elvis a few weeks before he dies.”

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