The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic is set to resume production again soon following its shutdown earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The movie stars Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as the King of Rock and Roll, with Tom Hanks set to star alongside him as Presley’s longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson became the most high-profile western coronavirus patients in March when Hanks was in Australia filming the movie. Hanks and Wilson endured the terrible sickness during isolation, and eventually they went home to America.
Hanks is now back in Queensland, Australia, and he’s in hotel quarantine for two weeks before filming on Elvis begins again on September 23. Butler, along with the rest of the cast and crew, are already in the country.
Luhrmann said in a statement to Deadline, “We’re back to, as Elvis liked to say, ‘taking care of business!’ It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on Elvis.”
Luhrmann added: “I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we feel in the current climate that the state of Queensland, and Queenslanders in general, have been so supportive of this film. We thank our partners in the Queensland Government and Queensland Health for their extremely diligent process, so that we can be an example how creativity and productivity can proceed safely and responsibly in a way that protects our team and the community at large. We are all excited to start working with Tom Hanks when he is out of quarantine in two weeks.”
Hanks returned to Australia earlier this week, and his arrival was met with some criticism. He flew into the Gold Coast on a private jet and went straight into hotel quarantine at a hotel that is not one of the designated quarantine hotels, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that Hanks would be subject to random police checks to make sure he doesn’t leave the hotel. At this hotel, the movie’s producers have rented out “a number of floors” and they are paying for their own security. Although Hanks is getting special treatment in that regard, he is still bound by the same health and safety requirements of people staying in the designated hotels. Still, some people are upset about the preferential treatment he is receiving.
“The double standards are shocking–it shouldn’t be one rule for VIPs and celebrities and another rule for everyone else,” Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said, according to SMH.