FRANCE: ‘Elvis,‘ starring Austin Butler, won the longest standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival during its premiere.
The film garnered a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest of the festival so far.
As the applause became louder, a tearful Butler hugged an equally emotional Priscilla Presley, who had flown to the south of France to offer her support to the film about her late husband.
‘Elvis’ at Cannes
The Warner Bros. musical drama received spontaneous applause from Cannes as Butler replicated some of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits, including ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ and ‘Suspicious Minds.’
‘Elvis’ is one of the most anticipated films at Cannes, with a red carpet that included Sharon Stone, Shakira, Kylie Minogue, Diplo, Jeremy O. Harris, and the Italian rock band Maneskin.
It wasn’t just celebrity power that lit up the red carpet. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav dressed up in a black tie, ditching his Sun Valley uniform of chinos and tech vests and slicking his hair behind the ear, perhaps in honour of the King.
The billionaire walked the red carpet with producer Gail Berman, who shepherded Luhrmann’s latest, and sat in the audience next to Butler’s girlfriend, model Kaia Gerber. Toby Emmerich, the president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, was also present on the set.
Zaslav was surprised by the film’s reception at the film’s opulent after-party. Butler said that he saw the movie for the first time with his girlfriend Gerber the night before, and both were in tears.
With the audience still on its feet, Luhrmann hugged his cast members, visibly affected by the positive response to ‘Elvis.’
Taking the microphone and wiping away emotions, he recalled his first experience in Cannes for ‘Strictly Ballroom.’
“I’ve had a bit of an epiphany because 30 years ago, my wife and I made a little film called ‘Strictly Ballroom,’ but on our film we had one exhibitor who gave us one screen, and he saw the film and he left before it finished and said, ‘That is the worst film I have ever seen and you have ruined the career of (Pat Thomson),’ who played the mother.”
“Anyway, we travelled up the coast, and I had extremely long hair, and we were sleeping in a trailer park, and I was saying, ‘This film thing is never going to work out,’ so I started cutting my hair off,” Luhrmann continued.
“And I got a call on the telephone and it was a French man, and I was holding a tin bucket above my head because the night before someone had been killed by a coconut that fell out of a tree. And on the phone, a voice said, ‘Hello, my name is (former festival director) Pierre Rissient, I am from the Cannes Film Festival, and we have seen your film and we would like to offer you a 12 o’clock screening in the Palais’ And at the end of the (screening in Cannes), I remember a security guard came over and he grabbed me and said, ‘Monsieur, from this moment, your life will never be the same again.”
Luhrmann told current festival director Thierry Fremaux that when COVID-19 arrived and ‘Elvis’ was shut down, it felt like it would “never happen.”
Luhrmann’s films are frequently grandiose and over-the-top, which is exactly the attitude Warner Bros. delivered to the director’s global premiere of ‘Elvis’ at the Cannes Film Festival. Following the premiere screening, the studio surprised attendees with a concert on the beach.
Luhrmann presented special guest DJ Diplo, who performed an original song from the ‘Elvis’ soundtrack with Swae Lee and Butler. Maneskin, an Italian glam rock band and Eurovision winner performed a song from the soundtrack at the Majestic beach club celebration, where Butler and Gerber partied the night away.
An electrifying drone show with lights highlighting ‘Elvis’ figure, name, and motto TCB, backed by music, preceded the performance.
‘Elvis’ is Luhrmann’s first feature film direction since 2013’s ‘The Great Gatsby,’ which also had its world debut at the Cannes Film Festival.
Butler plays the lead role, with Tom Hanks as Elvis’ controversial manager Colonel Tom Parker, and Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley.
Watch the trailer of ‘Elvis’ here: