Baz Luhrmann compares ‘Elvis’ and this specific character to Shakespeare

Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

We’re just hours away from Baz Luhrmann’s theatrical debut Elvis and the harrowing story of Elvis Presley is as sobering as it is tantalizing. When someone promises to make all your dreams come true, you should always approach the invitation with a grain of salt.

go to the theater to see Elvis it will be an experience in itself; one that Luhrmann likens to a play by the great Shakespeare. It’s intertwined throughout the narrative, but more important is the contrast between the villain and himself: he’s not a one-layered character, he’s multifaceted: he’s Colonel Tom Parker.

ew shared the following quote from Luhrmann, and it is a nod to that idea.

“If Shakespeare was looking to take on a historical character now, he couldn’t get past the idea of ​​the Colonel and Elvis. The Colonel is like Falstaff with a chainsaw. Because Shakespeare’s villains are never just bad guys. Colonel Tom Parker absolutely did diabolical things. But he also did extraordinarily cool things. So it’s all a paradox and a coin toss. That’s what makes it so delicious.”

Presley fans understand the depth of the dynamic between the icon and Parker, but casual viewers may not fully grasp that concept. Weather Elvis it will certainly tell Presley’s story, it’s also a dive into the man who helped build it, and then tore it down, even if that was never his intention.

Speaking explicitly of Parker, Luhrmann says he’s a direct representation of something that never changes in entertainment: selling.

“If Elvis represents the soul and the new in America, the possibility in America, the poverty and the wealth in America, all those positive, very American things, the Colonel represents selling. The promotion. the brand the promises But the more I read about the Colonel, it was about selling by overwhelming the other side.”

It seems stronger than ever that Presley represents hope, while Parker represents the truth of the industry and the darker side of achieving your wildest dreams. Their relationship plays into that idea as much as the things they experienced together. Parker wasn’t just the dark cloud hanging over Presley; it was often the sun. He is complex, complicated and heartbreaking: Presley’s talent was unmatched, but that didn’t make him an invincible man.

Elvis dance in hearts and theaters on June 24, and we are all just a dream away from the experience of a lifetime.

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