Kevin Macdonald to Direct Elvis Presley Biopic 'Last Train to Memphis'
After making waves with his historical drama The Last King of Scotland, director Kevin Macdonald ventured into music documentaries with Marley. Now he's heading back into the world of music, but this time with a narrative biopic. Variety has learned that Macdonald will direct an Elvis Presely biopic called Last Train to Memphis for Fox 2000. Peter Guralnick's 1995 biography will serve as the source material for the film which will follow Presley from his early years up to his superstar inception as a controversial new performer in the world of music. So we won't be seeing The Elvis who let himself get fat. More below!
Here's the official synopsis of Guralnick's book, which will be adapted by John Fusco (Young Guns):
This volume tracks the first twenty-four years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records ("That's All Right," "Mystery Train"), and the early RCA hits ("Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel"). These were the years of his improbable self-invention and unprecedented triumphs, when it seemed that everything that Elvis tried succeeded wildly. There was scarcely a cloud in sight through this period until, in 1958, he was drafted into the army and his mother died shortly thereafter. The book closes on that somber and poignant note.
Last Train to Memphis takes us deep inside Elvis' life, exploring his lifelong passion for music of every sort (from blues and gospel to Bing Crosby and Mario Lanza), his compelling affection for his family, and his intimate relationships with girlfriends, mentors, band members, professional associates, and friends. It shows us the loneliness, the trustfulness, the voracious appetite for experience, and above all the unshakable, almost mystical faith that Elvis had in himself and his music. Drawing frequently on Elvis' own words and on the recollections of those closest to him, the book offers an emotional, complex portrait of young Elvis Presley with a depth and dimension that for the first time allow his extraordinary accomplishments to ring true.
But who will bring Elvis to life? Well, one might think that a big star would take the role, but Macdonald and producers Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman at Jagged Films (also behind the James brown biopic) and Steven Bing at Shangri-La may discover a new talent to play young Elvis Presely. A website has already been set up with directions for an open casting call where any aspiring actors can submit an audition tape singing six to eight bars of any Presley song. Of course, after that a real audition will have to take place to make sure the candidate can act as well as sing. Fox 2000 found success with their Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, so maybe taking on another iconic musician like this will work out for them.