Elvis & Nixon from Amazon Studios dropped a surprise trailer on unsuspecting movie audiences yesterday in much the same way that the “King of Rock ‘n Roll” showed up on the White House lawn to surprise President Richard Nixon 45 years ago.
The film stars Michael Shannon as the King and Kevin Spacey as Nixon, and it’s played in about the only way that one could play it — goofball comedy.
Perhaps the funniest thing about it, however, is that it’s almost completely true.
On the night of December 19, 1970, Presley got into a tiff with wife Priscilla over his reckless spending habits. To blow off steam, he flew to Los Angeles and met friend Jerry Schilling.
After an allergic reaction to chocolate and a good night’s sleep, Presley told Schilling that he wanted to go to Washington, D.C., on a quest that included a personal goal of receiving a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge from the organization’s headquarters.
Presley was given the brush-off with a suggestion that maybe if he wrote to President Nixon with his request, they could consider it from there.
Presley did just that and decided to deliver the letter to Nixon personally.
Given how different the two men are, a close comparison to what this is like would be like a drug-induced Justin Bieber showing up to meet President Obama unannounced. And that still doesn’t really come anywhere close.
You can check out the only-slightly-fictionalized account of the meeting in the trailer below.
Movie fans, if you feel like you’ve maybe already seen this flick before, you may be remembering the similarly titled Elvis Meets Nixon from 1997, which was directed by Allan Arkush and stars Rick Peters as Elvis and Bob Gunton as our former President.
The film is largely forgotten but has received critical praise over the years for its humor and its accuracy in portraying the events.
What it didn’t have going for it was the high-profile Elvis & Nixon cast, but you may still find it worth a watch if you can find a good copy of it.
Here’s the part where Elvis “robs” a donut shop.
As for Elvis & Nixon, it will be getting a little more fanfare than the prior effort, opening in theaters everywhere on April 15.
It will also be a very small part of its lead stars’ 2016.
On the horizon for Michael Shannon are nine films that are either in post-production or completed, Elvis & Nixon included.
He also has two additional films that he is in the process of filming. These include Pottersville, a comedy with very few details available at this time, and Loving, a drama about an interracial couple in 1958 who were sentenced to a Virginia prison for getting married.
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga will take the leads in that film, but Shannon will be providing support as real-life photographer Grey Villet, who photographed the couple for Life Magazine.
You can read more about his character in the film at this link from the New York Times.
Spacey will not have quite as busy of a 2016 as his co-star, but he will be turning up in a new season of House of Cards at Netflix while dropping Billionaire Boys Club and Nine Lives sometime later in the year.
If you just can’t wait for Elvis & Nixon or you don’t have the patience to find the first version of the film and you’d like to learn more about the madcap events surrounding it, there is a National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) account of it here.
Are you ready for Elvis & Nixon, and have you seen the earlier film? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via NARA]