Baz Luhrmann’s divisive “Elvis” biopic has its fans and detractors amongst those who’ve reviewed it so far, but one commonly brought up element in almost every one of them is the film’s rather long 159-minute runtime.
It turns out that the original cut of the film was much longer. Speaking to Radio Times recently, Luhrmann confirmed that he originally created a full four-hour (240 minute) cut which included numerous key scenes such as Presley’s infamous meeting with Richard Nixon:
“I mean, I have a four-hour version, actually. I do. But you have to bring it down to 2 hours 30… I would have liked to lean into some of the other things more – there’s so much more. I mean, there’s lots of stuff that I shot like the relationship with the band, I had to pare [that] down – and it’s so interesting how the colonel [Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks] gets rid of them.”
He goes on to reveal the longer cut included a greater exploration of Elvis’ relationship with his first girlfriend Dixie and his addiction to barbiturates which ultimately led to the Nixon meeting.
No mention is made of that longer cut eventually showing up, even though it sounds like perfect HBO Max material. The two-and-a-half-hour version of “Elvis” will hit cinemas on June 24th.