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Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann went to great lengths to capture the different eras of Elvis Presley’s life for Elvis, the biopic that stars Austin Butler as the late King of Rock and which became one of the rare dramas for adults that succeeded at the box office in the pandemic age.
Luhrmann honed in on “the rebellious America of the ’50s,” he said at at THR Presents Live at EnergaCamerimage, powered by Vision Media. But, added the director, the film also captured the “Camelot America where everything was just glamorous and great in the early ’60s, and then the kind of lost America in the Purple Haze of the ’70s.”
In a conversation with THR, Luhrmann and cinematographer Mandy Walker also discussed the years of meticulous research and the filming of the movie. While working on the film, Luhrmann worked out of an office in Graceland, the iconic Tennessee mansion owned by Presley.
Luhrmann and Walker studied Presley’s iconic performances, such as the ’68 Comeback Special, which marked his return to TV after a seven0year absence. The duo zeroed in on the cameras, lenses and camera angles to get the cinematography right. The team also put their own cameras inside the vintage TV cameras seen in the movie in order to capture performances.
“I spent a lot of time meticulously studying what lenses of the period would’ve been used, the lighting, the fixtures that they would use and reproduce those,” said the Walker of getting the feel of the eras like.
The effort involved the entire production. Said Walker: “By the time we stepped on set, everybody was on the same page.
This edition of THR Presents was brought to you by Warner Bros. Pictures.
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