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Elvis & Baz Luhrmann: An Epic Movie

 


Most of us have seen "Elvis," the 1979 mini-TV movie, starring Kurt Russell. And going forward, we've also witnessed all the attempts of Elvis' story, year after year, with little attention to detail.

Like Elvis singing in, what we assume, is a scene from Clambake with a 68 Comeback hair style. Or Dale Midkiff's long sideburns as he recites vows in what's to be Elvis' wedding (Elvis and Me). But wait! Elvis didn't have sideburns in 1967, did he? No, he did not!

Why can't they get it right? We scream into the void that is Elvis-movie-land.

These are the details that drive Elvis fans crazy. We ask, why can we not have a detailed, visually accurate Hollywood movie? Why does Ray Charles, Elton John, Johnny Cash, and Freddie Mercury (to name a few) all have Hollywood's attention. Yet, Elvis is lucky if he gets some low budge "Bubba Ho-Tep?" 

What is wrong with Hollywood? Are they all Elvis-haters?

Then, as the world was suffering through a pandemic, we hear whispers that a BIG movie is filming in Australia. Names like Baz Luhrmann, better known for mastery creations like Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby! And then Tom Hanks; Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, Forrest Gump, and the list goes on. Can it be true? Do we dare to hope?

Well, friends, we hoped, and we prayed. And someone was listening!

Because on June 24th, 2022 (USA) Baz Luhrmann is going to give us the Hollywood epic movie we have been begging for! And after months of watching the first released trailer, over and over, with attention to detail, we have come to the conclusion that Baz has indeed done his homework. Signs of that fact is seen in early scenes, where the setting of a scene says more than words. Like a young Elvis running towards a Gospel tent revival with a Captain Marvel sym
bol hanging from his neck.


Now, Baz could have spent time explaining Elvis' fascination with comic book characters. And for those that don't already know, would that detail really matter? No. Of course not. The symbol was meant for us, the real Elvis fan! Baz took the time to show such a detail so that we would know that he cared enough to discover even the smallest fact of Elvis' life. And in a single moment, he gained Dan and I's respect.

We both looked at each other, a sly grin on both of our faces, "Ok, now we're talking." We've got ourselves a movie! 

Now, honestly, we've only seen two minutes of this movie thus far. We don't yet know how Baz will handle the downward events of Elvis' life, nor the end of Elvis' life. These moments, and how they're handled, could very well change our opinions. But, judging by the respect we've already seen given, by the cast and crew to The Man, we're going to stay positive and hopeful. 

What we do know: the cast are Elvis fans. Both Baz, Austin Butler, and Tom Hanks are self-professed Elvis fans. And they have been since way before the movie was even a concept. 

Baz spent months in Tupelo and Memphis, talking to childhood friends, focusing on the details we've all longed for. Like Elvis' relationship with the black community.

His attention to the music of the time and the artists that build it, like BB King and Big Mama Thornton, tells me that he understands how Rock N Roll truly began. And it wasn't on the backs of black artists, it was side by side, color notwithstanding. Sure, for Elvis, his "whiteness" helped the cause. He was the spark everyone had been waiting for, and few begrudged him, because many stood to benefit. And everyone knew it, including Elvis.

Now, will there be creative liberties? Of course, there will be, and we heard it in the accent Tom Hanks gave The Colonel. Now, from a writer's perspective (me), I felt this addon was genius. What better way to hint at Parker's ancestry without drudging up the details, then to give him an accent? Real Elvis fans already know and non-Elvis fans, well, they'll investigate it when the final credits roll, and they discover they are now TRUE Elvis fans! Tom basically told everyone without telling anyone.

Totally epic (yes, I'm using 80's slang). Just epic.

And that's what this movie will be to the Elvis' legacy--glorious! With this movie will come new fans. Inside this creative venue, other artists will reach out and more Elvis tributes will come, which will--you got it--create more Elvis fans.

Again, I reiterate, we have great hopes for this movie. And while we have yet to see the whole picture, we encourage all Elvis fans to support the venture, stay hopeful that Elvis gets a push in the youth market, like he did when Elvis the Number One hits CD came out, and we saw "A Little Less Conversation," climbing the charts again. 

What more can we say? We're counting down the days until June 24th....58's day!

If you live in the Maryland, West Virginia, DC, or Virginia area, Dan and I will be publicly posting where and when we'll be viewing the movie. EVERYONE is welcome to join us. Keep an eye out on the Blue Suede Connection FB page for more details. We hope to see you there!

Dan & TL