On 7.3 I assessed the Baz Luhrmann / Elvis Presley casting situation, as reported by Deadline‘s Mike Fleming. Four contenders had recently screen-tested for the Presley role in Luhrmann‘s biopic about the relationship between the iconic rock star and Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), and it was my view that three of them — Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles — weren’t right.
My judgment was that 28 year-old Austin Butler (The Dead Don’t Die, the grubby and psychotic Tex Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood) seemed “the most interesting possibility among the four.” Today Fleming reported that Luhrmann had agreed and gone with Butler.
Sidenote: Butler’s big OUATIH scene happens at the end, but there’s another moment (and a rather inconconsequential one) that’s been bothering me since I saw it in Cannes. No spoilers or give-aways are contained in the following — I’m just throwing it out there for future discussion.
There’s a scene in which Brad Pitt‘s Cliff Booth gives a barefoot Manson Family chick (Margaret Qualley) a lift out to the Spahn Movie Ranch. I won’t mention what happens but a confrontational situation develops, and this gets the attention of Butler’s Watson. Being some distance away, Watson leaps on a horse and high-tails it down to where certain family members are dealing with Booth.
It’s the way that Tarantino shoots Watson’s lickety-split arrival that struck me as…well, curious. Because he uses a tracking shot to capture Watson on his galloping steed, as if he’s Randolph Scott or Hopalong Cassidy coming to the rescue. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Why is Tarantino trying to make Tex ‘psycho’ Watson look like some decisive, courageous, take-charge man of action?” Which doesn’t figure, given who and that Tex is.