Coronavirus: Production on Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic suspended indefinitely

Melbourne, Mar 22 (PTI) The principle photography on the Elvis Presley biopic has been called off till further notice in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, director Baz Lurhmann has announced.

The Warner Bros project was hit by COVID-19 after Hollywood star Tom Hanks was tested positive for the disease recently.

Lurhmann, who went into self-isolation along with his family after Hanks' diagnosis, shared a statement on Twitter on March 20 that now is 'not the moment to be resuming production on the film'.

However, the Australian director, known for 'Moulin Rouge' and 'The Great Gatsby', committed to returning to the production whenever the situation improved.

'All going well, we have a passionate conviction to be back here on the Gold Coast, picking up where we left off as soon as the time is right. In fact, we are not even taking our sets down, simply locking up the creative space over the next few days.

'We all agree that right now this is the right time for people all over the world, from all walks of life, to be at home, indoors, with their loved ones (washing our hands five times a day),' Luhrmann added.

A spokesperson for the studio said the same in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

'Despite valiant efforts, due to current world events, production on the Elvis film cannot proceed at this time. We will commence principal photography once circumstances permit,' the statement read.

Principal photography was due to start next week. Production staff on the film was told to take time off until June or July according to local reports.

The yet-to-be-titled film, starring Austin Butler in the lead, was in preproduction stage on Australia's Gold Coast when Hanks and his wife, singer-songwriter Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier this week, the Hollywood couple, both 63, were discharged of the hospital and continuing to self-quarantine at a rented home in Australia.

Hanks is set to play Colonel Tom Parker, the manager who controlled every aspect of Presley's life.

Also starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Australian actress Olivia DeJonge, the film is slated for an October 2021 release. PTI RDS RDS