It didn’t take long for Tom Hanks to get all shook up about joining the new “Elvis” biopic.
Director Baz Luhrmann says Hanks jumped at the chance to portray the rock ‘n’ roll icon’s controversial manager, Col. Tom Parker, in the new movie, which hits theaters Friday.
“I went to see him. I said, ‘Look, I want you for this role,’ and usually it takes a month to get someone like that on board,” Luhrmann told the Daily News.
“I told him about the toxic relationship between Col. Tom Parker and Elvis, and honestly 20 minutes in, he just turned to me and said, ‘Well, if you want me, I’m your guy.’ I walked out and honestly I said to my guys, ‘Did he just say yes?’ And he did, and he never looked back.”
The movie explores how Parker, a one-time carnival worker, discovered Presley during the 1950s and helped elevate him to mainstream stardom, before being accused years later of financially manipulating the singer.
“The character of Col. Tom Parker is gargantuan,” Luhrmann said. “He’s a gargantuan kind of carny. Think of J. Edgar Hoover plus a carny plus a sort of wackadoo, the Penguin with a chain saw. Mash them all together. He’s that out-there. I thought, ‘You need a really great actor to do it.’ Tom’s not just a great actor of our time, but of all time.”
In addition to showcasing the different eras of Presley’s musical career, “Elvis” covers the artist’s venture into acting, which Parker played a significant role in as well.
Luhrmann, 59, says his favorite Presley movie was one of the star’s earliest: the 1958 musical drama “King Creole.”
“If you look at him in that, he’s really terrific actually, and you really can see that he had great potential to grow as an actor,” Luhrmann said. “Of course, as the (new) film points out, that was stymied.”