Tom Hanks on Controversial ‘Elvis’ Biopic: ‘What Have I Done?’

Tom Hanks has questioned his decision to play Colonel Tom Parker – Elvis Presley’s infamous longtime manager – in the upcoming biopic “Elvis.”

The 65-year-old Oscar winner spoke at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday about why he decided to portray him – and how director Baz Luhrmann persuaded him to do so.

“I’m not interested in playing a villain just to say, ‘Before I kill you, Mr Bond, you might like to tour my installations.’ That’s fine, I understand, but that’s for other stuff,” the Forrest Gump actor noted via People.

Hanks donned prosthetics and bold cosmetics to become a true legend, though he admitted at the French film festival that he “didn’t know what Colonel Tom Parker looked like.”

He added that Luhrmann described the colonel as a “big carney” or carnival worker.

“The showman’s job is to take people to the twinkling lights outside of town, promise them something they’ve never experienced before, and then give it to them at almost a price,” he said. “When he said that, I said, ‘I’m your man – now please show me a picture.’ “

tom hanks
Tom Hanks revealed at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival why he decided to take on the role of Elvis Presley’s longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
IMDB/Warner Bros.; Getty Images
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the biopic "elvis"
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the biopic Elvis.
IMDb/Warner Bros.

Unfortunately, Hanks realized he would need help from a makeup team.

“When he showed me a picture of the Colonel, I was like, ‘Oh my god, what have I done?'” he said of signing up for the controversial, controversial musical drama, which stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock. n roll. The film has already received some bad reviews, with one critic calls it “a nightmare” and another specifically credits Hanks’ role as “possibly the most insufferable movie character ever conceived” and “arguably the least appealing performance of his career”.

But Hanks clearly saw potential in the role.

“[Parker was] a moody and brilliant man who also made sure to line his own pockets,” Hanks remarked. “He knew this about Elvis from the first time he saw Elvis’ effect on an audience… He realized that this guy was forbidden fruit and there’s a lot of money to be made from forbidden fruit.”

Parker discovered Presley in 1955, and the pair worked together until the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer’s death in 1977. Parker died in 1997 at the age of 87.

“Without Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis would not have existed; Without Elvis there would have been no Colonel Tom Parker. A symbiotic relationship,” Hanks added. “What attracted me to Baz was that here was a guy who saw an opportunity to turn a once-in-a-lifetime talent into a cultural force.”

"elvis" Photocall - The 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Elvis Presley’s widow Priscilla Presley will be pictured at the ‘Elvis’ screening at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on May 26 with Olivia DeJonge, Austin Butler, director Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks.

Aside from prosthetic limbs and “insufferable” performance, fans were apparently also tired of the “Captain Philips” actor’s odd accent for Parker, who was Dutch-American. But Hanks reportedly avoided a question about his “ridiculous‘ accent at the festival and simply gushed about the legacy of the late music entrepreneur.

“Elvis” swings his hips in theaters on June 24th. Tom Hanks on Controversial ‘Elvis’ Biopic: ‘What Have I Done?’

Emma Bowman

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