Viewers might be startled by the vision that greets them at the beginning of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis – out in UK cinemas this week. The grotesque, overweight, sallow-skinned, sickly old-timer claiming that, no, he didn’t kill Elvis Presley is Tom Hanks.

The Oscar-winning star, who played the holy innocent in Forrest Gump (1994) and the heroic lawyer and AIDS victim taking on the establishment in Philadelphia (1993), is seen here in a very different light. We are so used to Hanks playing selfless heroes like the airline pilot coping with disaster in Clint Eastwood’s Sully (2016), or lovable everyman types such as the bereaved husband in Nora Ephron’s hit romcom, Sleepless in Seattle (1993), that it startles us when he is not the epitome of onscreen decency.

In 1971, Richard Attenborough was cast as the necrophiliac English serial killer, John Christie, in Richard Fleischer’s macabre biopic, 10 Rillington Place. Watching Hanks as the sleazy, corrupt Colonel Tom Parker, signing dodgy contracts on Elvis’s behalf with mobster casino owners in Vegas, is almost as much of a surprise as seeing Attenborough’s Christie drugging and throttling young women.



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