Advice for Eric Bana as he takes on the role of Elvis (Conductor’s Reflections #11)

[Revised October 28, 2011]

Variety reported earlier this week that Eric Bana will play Elvis Presley in a new movie, Elvis & Nixon.

To be honest, at this point, I have no interest in watching someone try to play Elvis. Instead, I would prefer to see a decent series of documentaries produced about his life.

The only reason Elvis & Nixon even hits my radar at all is because Bana appeared in the 2009 movie Star Trek – a fantastic film. Bana played the Romulan villain, Nero. I can’t imagine Bana playing Elvis – but, then, suitability for the role has never been part of the criteria when it comes to productions about Elvis, has it?

Eric Bana as he appeared in Star Trek (2009)

Eric Bana as he appeared in Star Trek (2009)

Oddly enough, there’s already been a movie about the few minutes Elvis spent with President Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970. In 1997, Showtime produced a comedy movie called Elvis Meets Nixon covering the same event.

No word yet on whether the new Elvis & Nixon will be a comedy. One clue, though, may be that it will be the directorial debut of actor Cary Elwes – who has some comedy roles in his background, including Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

So, though I really don’t personally care about this movie, I do care enough about how Elvis is portrayed to the general public to offer Bana some free advice:

1.) Forget everything you think you know about Elvis.
2.) Watch Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, which was filmed four months before the events of Elvis & Nixon.
3.) Repeat #2 until you’re done with your role.

7 thoughts on “Advice for Eric Bana as he takes on the role of Elvis (Conductor’s Reflections #11)

    • Thanks, Patricia. Odds are, Bana’s performance as Elvis will end up being a parody like 99% of the others who have gone before him. I hope I’m wrong.


  1. I agree with everything you’ve said Ty. Has anyone seen the tv film Elvis with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He had a terrible accent, terrible hair, Whenever they showed a pciture of one of his albums it was J.R.M’s face washed over Elvis’s and whenever he sang a song, it was just the elvis song dubbed over… I like Eric Bana, but i don’t see what the point is in making a movie about this part of Elvis’s life when so little was known about it at the time. It must be a comedy, that way they can elaborate in an ironic way, otherwise it’ll just be a terrible movie.


  2. I don’t even know why there making this movie.Eric Banner is a descent actor. But he doesn’t have what its takes to play Elvis. NOBODY DOES!!!


    • I can’t say that this movie really interests me, either. The problem with playing Elvis is that people tend to play the stereotype rather than approach it like any other role and really get into his head.

      While the Nixon meeting is not but so interesting, there is definitely plenty of uncovered ground for Elvis biopics. Why not a movie covering 1953-1955, for instance? Or 1956? 1968? But it would only work if they were able to get past the trappings of the stereotype, which is tough.

      I’d prefer more of a straight-forward documentary – but of course, those don’t sell as many movie tickets.


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