Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.


Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?


President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.


Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.


Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.


Elvis & Nixon Title Block



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17 responses to “ELVIS meets NIXON

  1. Elvis Meets Nixon is so much better and entertaining than the 2016 movie. Michael Shannon as Elvis is an insult. There is not even a second I´ve could imagine that cadaverous looks is Elvis. Rick Peters did a very interesting character, in a very imaginative and pleasant to watch.

  2. Pingback: An Elvis Movie You’ll Want to Skip | ElvisBlog

  3. I saw Elvis and Nixon in NYC in early May 2016. I was looking forward to seeing it again when I returned to CA on May 15. The movie was not playing anywhere! Many friends have asked me about it, as in “What happened to that movie? I wanted to see it.”
    With all the publicity, I can’t understand what happened to it. Did anyone else have a similar experience?

    • Hi: In my town, the movie played for two weeks to very light crowds. Users of the movie website IMDb gave it a 6.7 out of 10. It grossed just over $1,030,000, making it a huge money loser. I blame this didaster on the totally stupid choice of Michael Shannon to play Elvis.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. Phil, Regarding the face morphing technology, the tech was decent in Forrest Gump and that was 22 years ago (23 years ago when they produced it). No doubt they could put Elvis in a believable feature film today. The animated feature film “American Pop” came out in 1981. That was a great dramatic film using animation with a realism style. Ever since then I was wishing they would produce a serious animated project starring Elvis. Again, there is just no actor who can do Elvis justice that Elvis fans can take serious.
    Here’s the trailer from “American Pop”

    • Hi Craig: Interesting stuff. I too wish they would produce a serious animation project about Elvis. As I said on the back cover of my book, BIG E and the SANTA MAN, I think my story would be perfect for animation.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  5. Little strange that any time Jerry Schilling is involved in a screen adaption of an Elvis story, regardless of what the production is, Schilling always has a hand in casting the actor who portrays himself and without fail the actor that’s picked to pay Schilling is always better looking than the actor that is picked to portray Elvis. I have a difficult time believing it’s an accident. It’s happened to many time.

    • Hi William: Very astute observation. I’ll check that out each time I watch a movie about Elvis.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  6. As Elvis fans, my husband and I are certainly hoping Elvis & Nixon lives up to all the hype, but after watching the first trailer that was released a while ago we already felt a little disappointed. We’re looking forward to reading your review of the movie, Phil.

    • Hi Jeanne: I posted a link today to watch the 1997 movie on YouTube. Check out Elvis Meets Nixon — Part 2. You won’t be dissapointed.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  7. As always… loved the info….and am looking forward to the next ‘Elvis Blog’ about the old 1997 version. I am curious if Jerry Schilling was consulted for that production. In case you are interested, on April 16th, a Saturday Night Elvis Show with Bill Rock, on Sirius XM Radio, (7PM Eastern time, 6PM Central time) will broadcast an interview with Schilling about the new version coming soon, of Elvis & Nixon! TCB Clementine

    • Hi Clemenine: I don’t get Sirius FM, so maybe you could send me an email about what Schilling has to say.


  8. There has never been a great movie about Elvis with any actor that could do him justice.
    However, there could be a great new movie starring Elvis as himself with this new technology, video facial manipulation RGB tech. Here’s is a youtube video demonstrating how it works:

    • Hi Craig:

      What an interesting and exciting concept. Is there a way to morph a face with this manipulation onto a body so that it could work for the action in a movie?

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  9. Trailer looks no different than the cheesy cable movie from ’97.

    • Hi Creig: I didn’t see anything funny in the trailer. Maybe there is some in the movie. We can make a better comparison after we’ve seen Elvis & Nixon.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

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