February 3, 2023

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Baz Luhrmann Says Austin Butler Helped Revive ‘Elvis’ After Shutdown

3 min read

For the first time since 2020, the Palm Springs Film Festival returns to an in-person event this year, including Thursday evening’s star-studded awards ceremony and Variety’s annual 10 Directors to Watch and Creative Impact Awards Brunch.

Parker Palm Springs’ Friday brunch honors “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actor Angela Bassett with Creative Impact Award for Performance; “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” writer-director Rian Johnson, Creative Impact in Screenwriting Award; “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann with the Creative Impact in Directing award and “Causeway” actor Brian Tyree with the Henry Breakthrough Performance honor.

Luhrmann’s award was presented by Austin Butler, who introduced Luhrmann as “a filmmaker who knows how to create a spectacle like no other”.

Accepting his award, Luhrmann said that like children, he loves all his films equally but differently. But “Elvis,” he said, was different because “we almost lost that kid.”

“During the pandemic, Tom got some cool stuff,” Luhrmann recalled. “And the film fell apart — I couldn’t keep the cast together.”

“I went to Austin and said the film is over,” Luhrmann said. But Butler had an incredible connection to the movie and said “I’m not going,” Luhrmann remembered. “He inspired me to go back to Tom and say, ‘You’ve got to do this.'”

“We held onto this baby as a precious, precious thing because it was meant to be born and bring audiences back to the theater, and it actually happened so I’m standing here now,” Luhrmann said.

Costume designer Ruth E. “I can think of two numbers that haven’t changed in over 25 years – my mother’s phone number and Angela Bassett’s measurements,” Carter introduced Angela Bassett.

She went on to praise Bassett that “Angela is “effortless in her passion for telling stories about strong black women.”

Bassett explained, “This work is my destiny—a gift, especially for a little brown girl who grew up in an era when everything shut down when you paid attention to black people on TV.”

Thanking his “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” team, Bassett said, “We felt Chadwick’s presence on set every day, and I will always be proud to see how that beautiful energy radiated throughout the film. The film showcased black unity, joy and We were able to demonstrate once again what love looks like.”

Tyree Henry, introduced by Daniel Deadwiller as a “top-tier member of the three-name club,” recounts how in his early years, his family had a camcorder but somehow no footage.

“But now I’m here and you can see me,” he said. “When people see you, you have to believe them. Thanks for watching me!”

“Glass Onion” star Kate Hudson introduced Johnson, saying, “She doesn’t tread water, she doesn’t stay in place.”

“It’s one thing to tell a story, it’s another thing to tell a story with something in mind,” Hudson said of Johnson’s films.

Thanking his cast and crew, Johnson said, “The film is all these people coming together. Now it seems we’re all going out into the sunshine.”

every year, diversity Editors and critics select 10 film directors likely to make an impact in the years to come. The 10 directors to watch this year were Maggie Bates (“The Burial”); Elegance Bratton (“The Inspection”); Eliza Bynum (“Magazine Dreams”); Alice Diop (“Saint Omer”); Eva Longoria (“Flamin’ Hot”); Nida Manzoor (“Gentle Society”); Laurel Parmet (“The Starling Girl”); Saim Sadiq (“Joyland”); Jingyi Shao (“Chang Can Dunk”) and Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”).

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