Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Warner Bros.
Tom Hanks is Colonel Tom Parker at Bazz Luhrmann’s elvis, and the role is almost otherworldly for the legendary actor. Playing Elvis Presley’s right-hand man was on another level entirely, one that allowed more room for freedom in his role.
In a chat with ewHanks talked more about the role of Parker and how playing Elvis was like being Jesus, and his explanation of the statement makes a lot of sense.
“Playing Elvis is like playing Jesus, and it doesn’t really matter who plays Pontius Pilate because if you have a good Jesus, you have one. But the challenge for me, aside from the freedom, was having this aspect of engineering every day. Because what you get from that is armor.”
Elvis was, and still is, a larger than life presence. He broke into the realm of music with his own sound, style and determination, traits that made him a legend in his lifetime and after his untimely death. Indeed, a power player can often outshine those around him, but that’s not Presley’s or Luhrmann’s approach. Elvis — her relationship with Parker is the focus of the story.
Hanks’ co-star Butler sang his praises as Parker and didn’t want his contributions to be downplayed. He points out that this armor worked, not just for Presley and the Colonel, but for Butler as well. He said the talent that Hanks possesses sold the role while the cameras were rolling and even when they weren’t.
“You can see Colonel Parker as despicable, but when he’s Tom, he’s such an amazing actor that he can justify everything and he’s not playing a bad guy in his mind. He’s so justified that he made me bend over and ask, ‘Wait, maybe he’s right at this point.’ It seems you are right. That was amazing because you still see the sparkle in his eyes.”
For Hanks, creating the character of Parker was a real joy because it gave him a clean drawing board on which to create his version of Parker. Of course, he took the man and his relationship with Presley into consideration, but he could tell the story in a way that made sense to him.
When the public goes to the cinemas to see ElvisWe will see the revelation of one of Presley’s most important relationships, one that shaped his life and his undoing.
You can see Butler and Hanks at Elviscoming to theaters tomorrow.