On Sunday I had the privilege of watching 'Elvis' on the Warner Brothers lot and then listening to Baz Luhrmann, Gail Berman and Austin Butler talk about the process of making the film. Pam Tierney, friend and fellow vo actor invited me for a 10am showing. I said yes immediately. Hard to say what was more thrilling, the movie, which was spectacular, or the talk back afterwards. The artistry and knowledge that Baz imparted and Austin's humility were riveting. See how I just casually called them by their first names? Here are a few gems from the director:
"I wish it wasn't called cast and crew. I wish it was just called crew because it is like a ship and we're all on it together and unless everybody is together, holding that, and our baby nearly died during a thing called covid, the film fell apart and when it came back and Austin refused to leave Australia even though the film was over. We all came back and the crew (and I include the actors) held that child like a precious thing, like we were not going to let that child die, we were going to get that child to the theaters and bring audiences into theaters."
"People say 'when did you know it was Austin?' I don't remember that, I just know that he came in and we just kept playing and we're still doing it, four years later."
Baz On Auditioning
"To keep fear at bay so that we can play and we all forget about the end result; so that we all walk out of there and go 'that was a useful day'. We all got something out of it.There's nothing more vulnerable than an actor. You come in and you do a scene and you're auditioning. Your mind is racing 'I know I can do it, I'm so nervous about this now I'm fearful'; there's no way you can ever do your best work like that. If you do auditions, be really prepared. I can't bear having someone come in my world and seeing fear on them. If you do find yourself in that situation, walk in, be prepared, do your best, walk out and do not think backwards. Have some friends ready and go do a scene. Don't wait for permission to do the next thing acting wise. Keep moving forward."
Austin on Elvis
Did I mention how cool it was to walk around the Warner Brothers lot where shows like Friends, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and My Fair Lady among thousands of other movies were filmed? Pam and I took pictures on Brownstone Street with the historic water tower in the background.
Thank you Pam for the invite, thank you Baz Luhrmann, Austin Butler, and Gail Berman for showing up to talk about making this fantastic movie, thank you Warner Brothers. I had a blast 😊🎬
For more on 'Elvis,' there's a great podcast from LA Times' Envelope with Baz Luhrmann: