MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The King of Rock and Roll is up on the big screen in the new Elvis biopic from director Baz Luhrmann.
This week, some fans in Memphis are getting a sneak peek of the new movie, which is set to hit theaters Friday. ABC24 Visual Storyteller Shiela Whaley spoke with fans who said the film is a big hit.
The film puts Elvis's Mississippi and Beale Street influences front and center. Austin Butler stars as Presley, with Tom Hanks stepping in as Colonel Tom Parker.
“I had very high expectations and didn’t think they were going to be met and it was great,” said one fan.
“The hardest part was sitting still in my seat while the music was going,” said Darla Chipman.
“I loved the part where Elvis first performed in front of everybody in his pink suit. It was an amazing scene. Awesome movie, to quote that guy behind me,” said Lyric Brock.
Everyone we spoke to shared the same opinion of Butler as the King.
“I thought I was looking at Elvis.”
“Austin should get an Academy award.”
“You really think it’s Elvis at times.”
“Austin Butler really, really embodied Elvis.”
“He did the lips, the hair, everything, the legs was just like him. Ha, ha,” said Ashley Moore.
And how about Hanks?
“Tom Hanks was wonderful.”
“He did a fabulous job.”
“Tom Hanks was great. His accent was super believable.”
“He did a great job showing it through his eyes. It’s a fresh take,” said Uwe George.
“At first when they were first showing the scenes for it, I didn’t recognize him as Tom Hanks and I thought he did a great job portraying such an unlikable character,” said Chipman.
Congressman Steve Cohen came out to see Memphis memories on the movie screen.
“It was really a fantastic film. It’s a tribute to Memphis. It’s a tribute to all of us who grew up in Memphis and lived through Elvis. I mean, Memphis is a quintessential city. It’s in America and I think this film brings it home,” said Rep. Cohen.
Hal Lansky, the clothier to The King, was also on hand.
“I live in Memphis. I eat, sleep and breathe Elvis Presley and he’s still the king,” said Lansky. “It was so sad, very emotional, real roller coaster and I’m going to see it again.”
“Great movie, I…. I couldn’t hardly get through it without crying. It’s just sad,” said Linda Crowe.
“I’m emotionally exhausted,” said Kelly Key.
"Elvis," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for "substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking." Running time: 159 minutes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.