4-hour Elvis movie cut: Baz on ‘wackadoo’ scenes and concert footage

When the Elvis Presley biopic hit theaters earlier this summer, the film clocked in at 159 minutes, down from the four hours of editing. Baz Luhrmann had to fit in over 20 years of El Rey’s short but busy life during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. However, the director now plans to release a much longer version.

Baz previously told the Radio Times: “I would have liked to lean more on some of the other stuff. There is much more. I mean, there’s a lot of things that I filmed like the relationship with the band, I had to cut back. [that] down, and it’s very interesting how Colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them. [The four hour cut depicted Elvis’] addiction to barbiturates and all that… What happens is that he starts doing crazy things, like going down to see [President] Nixon. I had it there for a while, but there comes a point where you can’t have it all, so I just tried to trace the spirit of the character.” Scenes with The King’s first girlfriend, Dixie, were also cut.

However, the director has now teased how his four-hour take on Elvis won’t be quite what fans might have thought.

Speaking to IndieWire at the 2022 Gotham Awards, Baz said: “It’s a directors’ meeting. It is not a cut. There’s a lot of material that adds up to four hours, but now I’ve put on the record that not today, not tomorrow, but at some point I would. [it] because Austin did his concerts to the max. He did all the numbers. Austin just did it and it was an out of body experience to see him do those entire concerts so I’ll record them together one day. We had all the cameras. [Cinematographer] Mandy Walker even reproduced glasses from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s to exactly match everything.”

Whatever the case, Elvis Presley Enterprises certainly seems interested in a four-hour version of the movie.

READ MORE: Elvis Presley star Austin Butler had trouble singing a soulful song

During Elvis week this summer, Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, joked to fans: “I don’t want to be asked about the four-hour version of the Elvis movie. We can’t talk about it, okay? Now, by the way, there’s a rule about that, about something that doesn’t exist because we’re not talking about it. If and when that would happen, and I have no idea if it will, the requirement will be that you have seen the movie in theaters at least twice. And the second time, he brought someone who isn’t an Elvis fan yet, okay? So, I don’t want to say that any of this is going to happen, but these are the things we can’t really talk about.”

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