Colonel Tom Parker’s biographer Alanna Nash says Tom Hanks’ accent in Elvis is inaccurate. The musical drama directed by Baz Luhrmann tells about the life and career of the main character, Elvis Presley, about his rise to fame and the path to becoming the most recognizable rock and roll star in the world. He also reveals Presley’s complicated relationship with his mysterious manager Parker. In addition to Hanks, the cast of Elvis includes Austin Butler, Olivia DeJong, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Luke Bracey and others. The premiere of “Elvis” took place on June 24 and received mostly positive reviews, with special praise given to the respective performances of Hanks and Butler.
Elvis’ focus on Parker quickly became a topic of discussion among viewers, many of whom either did not know about his past or were interested in the extent of his relationship with Presley. After illegally emigrating to the United States and hiding his Dutch ancestry for many years, which made his accent seem southern, Parker came into contact with Presley in 1955, and a year later officially began managing his career. A controversial figure, he practiced many unethical tactics and had a hand in almost all of the star’s endeavors, including those that concerned his personal life. The transformation of Hanks into Elvis in the image of Parker shocked fans, because the actor not only looks unrecognizable, but also speaks with a rather unique accent for this role.
Related: Elvis: Explaining the Controversy surrounding Colonel Tom Parker
As for the accent Hanks used in the film, Nash, the music journalist who wrote “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley,” tells Variety that it’s inaccurate. After being asked if the manager’s voice really sounded like Hanks’, Nash said, “No.” Read Nash’s quote about Hank’s Elvis accent below:
“No. It was more American, more rural. And he had what sounded like a slight lisp or a speech defect. It turns out he didn’t have a defect – he was just trying to wrap Dutch around English, Southern- It sounded like a strange (southern) regional dialect, and you could only know it was Dutch by listening to certain consonants. But Baz wanted him to seem more “different.” Or, as Baz told me in an interview: “I thought it was very important that Tom presented something strange to the public, something like, “What’s going on with this guy?”
Despite the problem of the actor’s accent raised by Nash, Luhrmann praised Hanks’ performance in Elvis. Speaking about the star back in January, Luhrmann praised his ability to play “a new string on his instrument.” Throughout his career, Hanks has played many characters, but there is no doubt that Elvis represents something new for the Oscar-winning actor. Hanks’ accent in the film might have been surprising, but, as Nash noted, there was a purpose behind it. In addition, Hanks can be praised for trying to do something completely different in his image.
As with most biographical works, there will almost certainly be aspects to Luhrmann’s Elvis that some disagree with. When it comes to portraying Colonel Parker, Nash can shed light on what may or may not be true. Nevertheless, the image of Presley’s manager, played by Hanks, still deserves attention. As long as some small inaccuracy doesn’t confuse the audience, there is something to be happy about what Hanks brings to Elvis. Fans of the actor can see his complete transformation now, when Elvis hopes to make a noise at the box office with his recent release.