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Baz Luhrmann Talks ‘Elvis’ With Maureen Dowd


There are stressful moments, as with “Moulin Rouge!”, when Mr. Luhrmann and Ms. Martin found a fax someone by chance left within the machine with an urgent plea to the studio to return and take over because “Baz is uncontrolled.” But when it isn’t impossibly difficult to birth, it isn’t Baz-y.

C.M., as Ms. Martin is thought, brings her husband’s enchanted worlds to life with opulent sets and costumes. She admitted that the size of Mr. Luhrmann’s dreams, wanting to search out “the very best of the very best of the very best,” can leave her feeling like Harrison Ford running to flee the boulder in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Throughout the first week in May, Mr. Luhrmann was racing to complete mixing and editing on “Elvis” for its premiere at Cannes this weekend, a month before its wide release on June 24. He was flying from Australia, where the movie was made, to Recent York to Los Angeles and back to Recent York before going to France. And he was also helping to direct the Met Gala and walking the red carpet wearing a Prada “Elvis decorative aesthetic” outfit, as he put it, accompanied by Priscilla Presley, uncannily on the arm of the film’s Elvis, the 30-year-old Austin Butler.

Mr. Luhrmann, who calls himself a “research nut,” wrote the screenplay with three other writers. He goes into total immersion on his movies, surrounding himself with excavations from the world he’s creating, from drapes to wardrobe to photos.

During “Gatsby,” he said, laughing, “I feel we went a bit far with the speakeasy a part of it.” He and Ms. Martin also flew to England in order that they could steam into Recent York on an ocean liner, like Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

On the afternoon of our interview, Mr. Luhrmann, whippet-thin at 59, was wearing flared black Celine jeans and Pimples Western boots, a Prada sweater in a blue that Elvis favored, a double diamond ring, a replica of Elvis’s “E.P.” ring, a string of pearls and a gold “TCB” necklace with a diamond lightning bolt, a riff on the jewellery worn by Elvis and the Memphis Mafia that signified “Taking Care of Business” fast. And he showed off a duplicate of the bejeweled belt with gold chains that Elvis wore onstage within the ’70s.

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