Elvis Director Reveals Cut Dolly Parton Connection

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis made waves when it debuted in theaters this past summer, chronicling a lot of components about the life of the King of Rock and Roll. The theatrical cut of the film definitely featured many musical numbers — but it sounds like a surprising one almost made its way into one of the film's key moments. In a new interview with Variety, Luhrmann revealed that Elvis almost included a scene of Austin Butler's Elvis Presley singing "I Will Always Love You", the now-iconic ballad penned by Dolly Parton. According to comments from Parton herself, Presley wanted to record the song, but was stopped by his abusive manager Colonel Tom Parker.

"The script was pretty long, but I always wanted another moment where Priscilla came back into his life and that they were friends. In a way when he walks on that plane and it takes off, we don't need to see him die, he's dead," Luhrmann revealed.  "Austin sang 'I Will Always Love You' in the back of the car. The scene begins with Priscilla saying, 'It's a beautiful song,' and he says, 'Yeah, Dolly wants me to sing it, but the Colonel…'" 

"When Austin got out of the car, he looks across at Priscilla and says that line, so that's where it comes from," Luhrmann explained.

Will there be an extended cut of Elvis?

As Luhrmann explained to ScreenRant earlier this year, a longer cut of Elvis could eventually arrive — but after he takes a small break from the project.

"Not now, and not probably next year," Luhrmann explained. "But I don't close my mind to the idea that in the future, there might be a way of exploring another [cut]. I've got to be really careful here, because the moment I put it out there... I tell you what, all my tweets are nothing but, 'We want the four-hour version! We want the four-hour version!' I think people are at my gates with pitchforks saying, 'We want the four-hour version!' But I don't close my mind to the idea that there would be an extended cut. Right now, with how long it's stayed in the theaters and how well it's done, it's crossed the line. But it's done so well on HBO Max over the weekend, so it's about the parent company going, 'Wow, it's really worth spending the money.'"

"Because it isn't just like I've got it, and you just put it out there," Luhrmann continued. "Every minute in post-production, you have to do visual effects, grading, cutting, refining, and ADR sound. It's not like it's just sitting there finished, and I can just push a button and it comes out. You'd have to get back in and work on it. To do an extended cut, you'd be working on it for another four or six months something. I'm not closed to it, but not now. I'm a little bit on the tired side."

What is Elvis about?

Elvis explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley's rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis's life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

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The cast of Elvis also includes Dacre Montgomery, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey, and Shonka Dukureh.

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