Tom Hanks has questioned his decision to play Colonel Tom Parker – who was Elvis Presley’s infamous longtime manager – in the upcoming biopic “Elvis.”
The 65-year-old Oscar winner discussed why he decided to portray him – and how director Baz Luhrmann convinced him to do so – at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday.
“I’m not interested in playing a bad guy just for the sake of, ‘Before I kill you, Mr. Bond, perhaps you’d like a tour of my installations. ‘ That’s OK, I get it, but that’s for other stuff, ”the“ Forrest Gump ”actor noted via People.
Hanks donned prosthetics and hefty cosmetics to become the real-life legend, though he confessed at the French film fest that he “did not know what Colonel Tom Parker looked like.”
He added that Luhrmann described the Colonel as a “great carney,” or carnival worker.
“The carney’s job is to bring people to the glittering lights on the outside of town, promise them something they’ve never experienced before, and then, almost giving it to them, at a cost,” he said. “When he said that, I said, ‘I’m your man – now, please, show me a picture.’ “
Unfortunately, Hanks realized he would need help from a makeup team.
“When he showed me a picture of the Colonel, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done?'” He said of signing up for the contentious, controversial musical drama, which stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘ n ‘Roll. The film has gotten some bad reviews already, with one critic labeling it “a nightmare” and another specifically calling out Hanks’ role as “possibly the most insufferable movie character ever conceived” and “arguably the least appealing performance of his career.”
But Hanks apparently saw potential in the part.
“[Parker was] a mercurial and brilliant man who at the same time made sure he lined his own pockets, ”Hanks noted. “He knew that about Elvis the first time he saw Elvis’ effect on an audience. He realized that guy was forbidden fruit, and you can make an awful lot of money on forbidden fruit.”
Parker discovered Presley in 1955, and the pair worked together until the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer’s death in 1977. Parker died in 1997 at the age of 87.
“There would have been no Elvis without Colonel Tom Parker; there would have been no Colonel Tom Parker without Elvis. A symbiotic relationship, ”Hanks added. “What Baz tantalized me with was, here was a guy who saw an opportunity to manifest a once-in-a-lifetime talent into a cultural force.”
Prosthetics and “insufferable” portrayal aside, fans apparently also were weary about the “Captain Philips” actor’s weird accent for Parker, who was Dutch-American. But Hanks reportedly avoided a question about his “ridiculous”Accent at the festival and simply gushed over the late music entrepreneur’s legacy.
“Elvis” will swing its hips into theaters on June 24.