Baz Luhrmann halts production on Elvis biopic after Tom Hanks contracts Coronavirus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Baz Luhrmann has halted production on his upcoming Elvis biopic after Tom Hanks contracted Coronavirus – also known as COVID-19. The Oscar-winning actor is set to play Presley’s longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker in the movie which was filming on Australia's Gold Coast.

The studio behind the biopic, Warner Bros., confirmed to Deadline that a member of the crew had been diagnosed with Coronavirus and said: “We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual.”

Hanks went on to confirm that himself and wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive with the virus. He wrote on Twitter: "Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.

"Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?"

Hanks added that they will "keep the world posted and updated" on the situation, ending the message: "Take care of yourselves!” They are two of 126,631 people (as of writing) who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus.  

The Elvis biopic – which will star Austin Butler as the eponymous singer – is currently scheduled to reach cinemas in October 2021, and no release date delay has been announced yet. However, another of Hanks' movies, Greyhound, has been moved from its May 8, 2020 release date to June 12 following the Coronavirus outbreak. The actor has two other movies due to reach cinemas this year – the sci-fi story BIOS and the news-station drama News of the World.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.