When the Elvis Presley biopic hit cinemas earlier this summer, the film clocked in at 159 minutes, cut down from a four hour cut in the edit. Baz Luhrmann had to fit in over 20 years of The King’s short but busy life through the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Yet the director now plans on releasing a much longer version.
Baz previously told Radio Times: “I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more. There’s so much more. I mean, there’s lots of stuff that I shot like the relationship with the band, I had to pare [that] down, and it’s so interesting how the Colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them. [The four hour cut depicted Elvis’] addiction to barbiturates and all of that…What happens is he starts doing wackadoo things, like going down to see [President] Nixon. I had it in there for a while but there just comes a point where you can’t have everything in, so I just tried to track the spirit of the character.” Scenes with The King’s first girlfriend Dixie were also cut.
Yet the director has now teased how his four-hour version of Elvis won’t quite be what fans may have thought.
Speaking with IndieWire at the 2022 Gotham Awards, Baz said: “It’s a directors’ assembly. It’s not a cut. 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] because 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. We just had all the cameras. [Cinematographer] Mandy Walker even got the lenses reproduced from the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s to match exactly everything.”
Whatever the case, Elvis Presley Enterprises certainly seem keen about a four hour version of the film.
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During Elvis Week this summer, Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, joked to fans: “I don’t want you to ask me about the four hour version of the Elvis movie. We cannot talk about that ok? Now, by the way, there is a rule about that, of something that doesn’t exist because we’re not talking about it. If and when that were to happen, and I have no idea if it’s going to, the requirement’s going to be you’re going to have seen the movie in the theatre at least twice. And the second time, brought someone who’s not an Elvis fan yet okay? So not to say that any of this is going to happen, but these are the things we really can’t talk about.”