However, the part ultimately went to Austin Butler, which left fans wondering director Baz Luhrmann was thinking. But ahead of the film's premiere later this month, the legendary director finally revealed the reasoning behind his decision during a recent appearance on Fitzy & Wippa, explaining that it was mainly related to Styles being an incredibly influential star in his own right.
“Harry is a really talented actor,” Luhrmann told the Australian radio hosts before saying he would eventually love to "work on something with him." Granted, when it came to portraying the King of Rock N' Roll, he went on to say that “the real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles."
"He’s already an icon,” Luhrmann said, vocalizing worries about audiences not being able to fully immerse themselves in the biopic with Styles as the star.
Not only that, but Luhrmann said he genuinely believed Butler was "born to play" Elvis, saying that he "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,” Luhrmann said before continuing, "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.”
But aside from this, it seems as if there are no hard feelings between the two, as Luhrmann went on to say that they "came to a place" during casting process, which he also noted is more of a "rich workshop" than an audition.
"I mean, he was just desperate to put the suit on and explore," he added. "He’s such a great spirit and I have nothing but great things to say about Harry Styles.”
Styles also appeared to confirm this during an interview with Howard Stern, saying that "Elvis was probably the first person I knew outside of my family when I was a very small child," which made him feel like he should audition. But he was also gracious when he said that it's up to the director and if feel like he's "not the best best person for the role then it's better for them and it's better for me."
"If they think the movie's going to be better with someone else then I don't want to do it," Styles said. "Because I don't want to be the not-as-good version."
Elvis is slated to premiere in theaters June 24. In the meantime though, you can listen to Luhrmann's interview here.
Photo via Getty / Francis Specker / CBS
- Harry Styles Joins Florence Pugh on Olivia Wilde's “Don't Worry ... ›
- Harry Styles Play Prince Eric Live Action "Little Mermaid" - PAPER ›
- Austin Butler Cast as Elvis Baz Luhrmann Biopic Harry Styles - PAPER ›
- Austin Butler Is Making Fans Cringe By Still Talking Like Elvis ›