Here’s Why Baz Luhrmann Didn’t Cast Harry Styles in ‘Elvis’

Harry Styles is so hot right now. His third studio album Harry’s House is No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single “As It Was” is the best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic, and around the globe.

So Styles, with his effortless style, great hair, adoring fanbase and growing list of movie credits would have been a natural to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic, Elvis?

Well, no. The Australian director reckons audiences would struggle to see past the Brit.

“Harry is a really talented actor,” Luhrmann tells Fitzy & Wippa, the breakfast radio team at Sydney’s Nova. “I would work on something with him…” but “the real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles. He’s already an icon.”

There’s nothing but respect between the pair, he continues. “Harry and I came to a place, genuinely I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore. He’s such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles.”

Luhrmann also clarified that he didn’t audition Styles or Austin Butler, who landed the titular role. “I do these really rich workshops,” he explains. Butler, he revealed, was simply “born to play” the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“The thing about Aust was that he will tell you himself, I didn’t pick him, it’s as if he was drawn like the role drew them in because he was almost born to play it,” he adds.

“You know, we can talk about it now, he like loses his mom at the same age that Elvis did. He sends a video to me with this thing and… He just happened like two years non-stop living and breathing as Elvis. He’s now going through a sort of it’s like deprogramming thing because he’s been a long time since he’s known who he was.”

Styles missed out on this occasion, but he can’t complain. Right now, he has the chart double in the U.S., while “As It Was” is on track for a tenth successive week at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.

The former One Direction singer also stars in Don’t Worry Darling, the psychological thriller feature film directed by his partner Olivia Wilde.

Luhrmann knows a thing or two about music. Music is in the foundations of his “Red Curtain Trilogy” (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!), and he landed a U.K. No. 1 single in 1999 with the spoken word number “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”.

Elvis arrives in theaters June 24.