Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ biopic continues to add to its cast to capture the musical excellence of the time.
According to Deadline, newcomer Alton Mason will play Little Richard after a long search. As the report states, Luhrmann wanted to find “the right American actor” to play Richard.
Mason has the chops to play Little Richard, having studied dance and theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. He also danced for P Diddy at the BET Awards after getting noticed by choreographer Laurieanne Gibson. He has also become the first Black male model in Chanel’s history to walk for the fashion house. His film role before Luhrmann’s biopic is in his own short film Rise in Light.
Also joining the cast is Grammy-winning singer and musician Gary Clark Jr. as blues artist Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Shonka Dukureh, an up-and-coming musician, will play blues and rock legend Big Mama Thornton. The film will be Dukureh’s feature film debut.
Grammy-winning and Dove Award-winning musician Shannon Sanders is also part of the film with gospel musicians Jordan Holland and Lenesha Randolph. Sanders, Holland and Randolph have been working with Luhrmann on the film’s development since 2019.
The remainder of the cast of Black talent includes Grammy-nominated singer/musician Yola, who will play Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who will play B.B. King.
The group of Black artists hired to join the cast is part of Luhrmann’s commitment to cultural integrity. According to Deadline, sources have said that Luhrmann was insistent on bringing in big names in music alongside upcoming talent “to create authenticity and sincere cultural engagement.”