The director teases some of the scenes that didn't make it into the theatrical release.

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis is due to hit theaters this summer, and the hotly-anticipated biopic promises to be a thorough explanation of the legend behind the King of Rock and Roll, played by Austin Butler. The director has described the film to EW as a "three-act pop culture opera," and it currently clocks in at more than two-and-a-half hours. But in a new interview with the Radio Times, Luhrmann explains that his original version of Elvis ran even longer.

"I have a four-hour version, actually," he said. "I do. But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30."

Austin Butler in Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis.'
| Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

This Radio Times interview does not clarify whether Luhrmann is referring to an assembly cut (a stage that most films go through, when most of the rough footage from the shoot is slapped together at outrageous length in order to give the director and editor ideas about what to aim for in their trimming) or a real director's cut that he might like to release someday. But he does tease some of what was left on the cutting-room floor.

"I mean, there's lots of stuff that I shot," Luhrmann said. "Like the relationship with the band, I had to pare [that] down — and it's so interesting how the Colonel [Tom Hanks] gets rid of them."

Presley lived a starry life, and much of it was documented at the time. As a result, some well-known incidents from his life, including his White House meeting with President Richard Nixon, are in the four-hour version but couldn't find a place in the finished version of Elvis.

"You know, the addiction to barbiturates and all of that, he starts doing wackadoo things — like going down to see Nixon," Luhrmann told the Radio Times. "I had it in there for a while but there just comes a point where you can't have everything in, so I just tried to track the spirit of the character."

Elvis is set to hit theaters later this month.

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Elvis (2022 movie)

Austin Butler and Tom Hanks star in this musical biopic about the life of Elvis Presley, specifically his relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker.

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