9 People Who Could Play The King In New Elvis Biopic
Tuesday, Paste reported that director John Scheinfeld will be adapting Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business, the memoir of Elvis Presley confidante Sonny West, who was one of the King's bodyguards for 16 years. West was a member of the "Memphis Mafia," Elvis' merry band of bone-breakers and yes-men who made sure the singer's every whim was sated.
Scheinfeld, who also lensed the excellent rock docs The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) plans to turn the book into a narrative feature, not a documentary. Those close to the picture, still in the earliest development stages, say that it will be similar to recent Oscar darling The King's Speech, showing the inner workings of the Graceland regime, but focusing on the West/Presley relationship.
Now, of course, casting has not begun yet, but Rocks Off immediately put on his casting director cap Tuesday afternoon, with the help of our Twitter followers. If the book covers the 16 years before the King's death, 1961-77, then you can only imagine the amount of characters that will make appearances: Priscilla Presley, Richard Nixon, various girlfriends, Col. Tom Parker, and celebrities galore covered.
For Priscilla? Well, we are a little too partial to brunettes with tall hair and dark eye makeup, so we can't begin to fathom (Emma Stone) who could play one of the most beautiful women Elvis ever knew (Megan Fox), but we are sure that the filmmakers (Evan Rachel Wood) have plenty of names in mind.
Simon Pegg is our pick for Red West, another member of the Memphis Mafia. Beau Bridges played Col. Parker quite a few years back for a TV flick, but now we could see Bristish actor Timothy Spall as the conniving Dutch-born manager. You don't recognize the name, but once you see the face you will more than likely agree. He was in Rock Star, Sweeney Todd and rat-faced turncoat Wormtail in the Harry Potter series.
OK, no one cares about those folks - we are here to talk about an actor playing Presley in his most private moments away from cameras and fans, the Elvis that his inner circle knew. The filmmakers need someone who can progress through those 16 years without making the character into a caricature: A bloated, slurring, hairy, rich-as-sin good ol' boy, but a complex, obsessive, talented, rich-as-sin good ol' boy.
It's obviously a role that needs to be knocked out of the park, and in the right hands, it could be awards bait.
Johnny Depp: No big-name Hollywood biopic is complete without throwing in Depp's name. Also, he could do it.
Michael Sheen: A Brit as the King? He is versatile, and he could hit the right notes without looking like a parody.
Vince Vaughn: Oh balls, fat Vince Vaughn would kill as Elvis, sadly. People forget that at one time Vaughn was a dramatic actor and not this generation's Chevy Chase.
Nicolas Cage: He's too old, and actually too weird, if that makes sense. Sure he's a big fan of the King, he even married his daughter Lisa Marie, but we'll pass on Cage. Though it would make a great YouTube fodder to add to Cage's already epic (yes) catalog.
Barry Pepper: A colleague, Marco Torres, suggested Pepper to us. The man has played Dale Earnhardt, Roger Maris, and Bobby Kennedy, so he can transform if need be. And hell, Elvis and #3 in the same career? That would make him redneck royalty for life.
Jack White: Hmm, he did turn in a great Presley in Walk Hard, and he is close to Presley's age. Jesus, he could even do the music too, and he can grow sweet sideburns like Elvis. We'll say it, he's our dark-horse pick, if his casting doesn't become a sideshow.
Bruce Campbell: Campbell played an aged Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep; that much is true, but Campbell is 53, now ten years older than Presley was at his death. If this movie was made a decade ago, maybe, but Campbell would bring more yucks than anything.
Val Kilmer: Could Kilmer play Jim Morrison and Elvis in the same two-decade span? He does have the weight, but he seems too soft-spoken now to play a loud soul like Elvis.
Josh Homme: Settle down, fan girls. The Ginger Elvis needs to be recording a new Queens album, and not dying his hair black to play the real Elvis. Though you know...
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.