EXCLUSIVE: Following a lengthy search, director Baz Luhrmann has tapped up-and-comer Alton Mason to play legendary musician Little Richard in Warner Bros. Elvis. Sources tell Deadline, even as the film got back into production following suspension due to COVID-19, Luhrmann wanted to make sure he took his time in finding the right American actor to play the part of iconic showman.
Mason joins an ensemble that includes Austin Butler as Elvis, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley. Elvis is a musical drama about the life and music of Elvis Presley. Seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager.
Luhrmann directs from the current screenplay he co-wrote with Craig Pearce. He is also producing the film, alongside Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, with Andrew Mittman executive producing.
The eldest of four children in the mid-west, Mason moved to Los Angeles when he was 17 to study dance and theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Through celebrity choreographer Laurieanne Gibson, Mason was soon cast as a dancer for P Diddy at the BET Awards, quickly gaining attention for his unique look. He soon became a trailblazer in his own right—Mason was the first Black male model to walk for Chanel in its then 108-year history.
Most recently, Mason was named to this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, and launched an impact campaign debuting his coming-of-age short film, RISE IN LIGHT, which he wrote and starred in, that raised over $10,000 for the Khan Foundation to bring relief efforts for Nigerian children and families affected by COVID-19. His short also features his upcoming single, “Gimme Gimme.”
Mason is repped by WME.