23-year-old Brody Finlay’s striking similarities to Elvis Presley has attracted the attention of Baz Luhrmann, in the search for the ultimate actor to play ‘The King’ in an upcoming film.
If you saw Brody down the street in his civvies, you likely wouldn’t recognise him as Elvis. But on donning blue-suede-shoes, he transforms into one of Australia’s premier Elvis Tribute Artists. Even as I type these words, Brody is likely belting out You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog. As an Australian representative at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Conference in Memphis.
“I’m one of 19 competitors from around the world, with only two Australians contending.”
To be afforded a place in Memphis, Brody took out wins at the Parkes Elvis Music Festival and Viva Surfers Paradise Tribute. Beyond his victories though, Finlay’s extraordinary attention to detail in portraying Elvis authentically more likely caught the attention of Baz Luhrmann.
Finlay’s got the arm swing down, the sashaying knees, the raised eyebrow timed over melodic peaks. He even uses the same company that produced Elvis’s costumes to create his own, saying, “Authentically expressing Elvis underpins everything. I want you to feel like you’re watching Elvis right back in that time.”
Brody was fine-tuning his Elvis set alone in his room at home when the call came. “I didn’t recognise the number, but wow, I’m glad I answered; it was a call from Baz Luhrmann’s office! I was like, ‘what the heck is happening here?’ I never auditioned for anything! She asked me if I’d heard about the movie and said they thought I’d be good for the part if I wanted to audition.”
Uncannily, Townsville-based Finlay, and his muse, Elvis Presley, share more in common than dazzling costumes and molasses dipped vocals. In their younger years, they were both told they couldn’t sing.
By her admission (and even while being his most enormous fan) Finlay’s mother had gone on the record saying, “Brody couldn’t sing when he was younger.” The Tribute Artist doesn’t shy away from this memory either. “It’s true. When I was little, I wasn’t much of a singer.”
Uncannily, Elvis The King himself shared a similar trajectory. Receiving a resounding ‘C’ in music in eighth grade, Elvis’s teacher didn’t beat-around-the-bush when telling him he had ‘no aptitude for singing.’ Fortunately, that didn’t stop Elvis, and some 60 years into the future, it hasn’t stopped Brody, either.
So just how has Brody arrived at his knee-sliding performances of today?
“Initially, I was in a Rock and Roll band with my father and friends. I played the saxophone at that point and wasn’t much of a singer. But my voice started to develop, I sang some songs, and people highlighted that I sounded like Elvis.”
“Personally, I think Elvis was most sublime in the 50s, that’s when he made it big. Watching him perform in that era; the energy in the crowd is phenomenal, people are just screaming!” As to whether Finlay got the gig in Baz Luhrmann’s pending film, he reverts to consummate professionalism, stating “I can’t comment at this time.”
Either way, the parallels between Elvis, Brody, and their respective following of screaming fans seems something like star-crossed alignment. They are keeping the Burning Love for Elvis’s reign blazing still.