Austin Butler, who fans may remember from his brief stint as Thea Queen's duplicitous love interest on Arrow, has been cast in the role of Elvis Presley in the forthcoming biopic from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. Butler, who had previously appeared in Kevin Smith's Yoga Hosers, played Chase, an assassin whose goal was to ingratiate himself into Thea's life so that he could spy on (also possibly kill) her and her biological father Malcolm Merlyn, in the show's third season. He appeared in a handful of episodes, but died by his own hand after he was shot by Merlyn.
Butler had previous CW cred as a character on The Carrie Diaries before heading to Arrow. In the years since he left that show, he has appeard in The Shannara Chronicles, The Dead Don't Die, and Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood. The Elvis role is undoubtedly his biggest break yet, although Butler is already pretty well known in the entertainment press, as he has been dating Vanessa Hudgens. Despite his relative youth, he has been working in Hollywood since 2006, when he appeared in a couple of episodes of Hannah Montana.
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” Luhrmann said in a statement (via Variety). “Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in ‘The Iceman Cometh’ on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”2comments
Luhrmann's film Moulin Rouge earned him a Best Picture nomination back in 2002, but did not win. The film is currently about to launch a stage musical adaptation on Broadway. The filmmaker, who is known for his visually arresting and stylistic films, has never scored an Oscar on his own, although his adaptation of The Great Gatsby won two in technical categories. Over the years, he has won AFI Awards, AACTA Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture or Best Director on several projects -- Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby.
Luhrmann has not directed a feature film since Gatsby, although he did work on the first and only season of Netflix's The Get Down.