Elvis Has A Ridiculously Long Director’s Cut?

A four-hour cut of Elvis exists, but Baz Luhrmann won't release it.

By Chad Langen | Published

Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis already has a hefty runtime of 159 minutes, but according to Variety, the first cut of the movie clocked in at a whopping four hours. At some point it’s possible we’ll see an extended director’s cut of the movie, but Luhrmann suggests it will be several years before he can get around to working on it. He recently told ScreenRant that a four-hour cut of the movie would take four to six months to edit, and the earliest he could picture himself working on it would be in 2025.

Elvis was a huge hit for Warner Bros. over the summer, earning $284 million at the global box office. The film set a record during its theatrical run when it became Baz Luhrmann’s highest-grossing domestic earner to date. The Great Gatsby, the filmmaker’s Oscar-winning feature starring Leonardo DiCaprio, previously held that record with a domestic total of $145 million.

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Starring Austin Butler as the legendary singer, Elvis tells the story of infamous musician Elvis Presley, as seen through the eyes of his controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The movie explores the rocker’s highs and lows as well as the various challenges and controversies he faced throughout his career. Luhrmann directed the film from a script he co-wrote with Sam Bromell and Craig Pearce.

Elvis was released in theaters on June 24th and was praised by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film sits with a 78% fresh rating from critics and a remarkable 94% fresh rating from audiences. At the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Awards, Austin Butler won the best actor award, and Luhrmann was nominated for best director.

Luhrmann first revealed the existence of a four-hour cut of Elvis in a June 2022 interview with Radio Times. The director described several scenes that didn’t make it into the theatrical version of the film. One scene explored the singer’s relationship with his first girlfriend, Dixie, while another dealt with his addiction to barbiturates.

Before the extended cut of Elvis can ever be released, Luhrmann estimates he’d have to spend four to six months of additional work on it. He told ScreenRant, “It’s not like it’s just sitting there finished, and I can just push a button and it comes out.” He went on to say, “To do an extended cut, you’d be working on it for another four or six months or something.”

Since his work on Elvis, Luhrmann only has one project in the works, according to his IMDB page. The director is currently filming Faraway Downs, a limited series that is set to premiere exclusively on Hulu. Starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, the story follows an Australian cattle rancher who, following the death of her husband, joins forces with a cattle drover to protect her ranch from a baron’s plot to take her land.

Although the four-hour director’s cut of Elvis is a ways away, assuming Luhrmann ever gets around to working on it, the theatrical version of the biopic is currently streaming on HBO Max. The film stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Dacre Montgomery, Leon Ford, and Luke Bracey. It’s rated PG-13 by the MPAA for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material, and smoking.