“He said he was a singer. I said, ‘What kind of a singer are you?’ He said, ‘I sing all kinds.’ I said, ‘Who do you sound like?’ He said, ‘I don’t sound like nobody.'” –Memphis Recording Service office manager Marion Keisker recalling her Summer 1953 meeting with Elvis (1)
“My ultimate goal with Nobody is to give Elvis Presley the cinematic justice he deserves, even if only through an independent short film,” said William Bryan, writer/director/producer of Nobody. The film, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, will portray Elvis in the waning days of his senior year in high school. A key event will be his performance at the April 1953 Humes High School talent show, which gave the shy singer enough confidence to walk into Memphis Recording Service just weeks later to record a demo.
Bryan, an Elvis fan since he was 11-years-old, has made an annual visit to Memphis for the last ten years. While studying at Columbia College Chicago, he made numerous short films. His goal for Nobody, which is also produced by 2011 Columbia College graduate Tom Radovich, is that it inspire today’s dreamers.
“Sure, this might sound a bit romanticized,” Bryan explained, “but think about who Elvis Presley was at the time of our story. He was a senior in high school who wasn’t the sports hero, didn’t have a girlfriend…he really was a nobody.”
While Nobody focuses on early Elvis, Bryan does not limit his fandom to that era. “I’ve been listening to a lot of ballad numbers that Elvis recorded between 1969 and 1971. ‘I’ll Never Know’ and ‘I’ve Lost You’ have been two of my favorites this week,” he said.
Nobody‘s Kickstarter campaign ends on June 1. If it can secure enough funding to proceed, the independent production promises a new look at Elvis compared to previous dramatizations of his life. “With all due respect to the filmmakers who have come before me and already told an Elvis story, many of the ‘Hollywood’ productions have unfortunately been less-than-tasteful, historically inaccurate, or worse, both,” said Bryan.
(1) ELVIS: The Biography by Jerry Hopkins, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 41.
Considering that as recent as four days ago, I noted that I no longer care to watch dramatizations of Elvis’ life, you may wonder why I chose to cover this particular story. I believe Nobody has a chance to distance itself from many of the other films made about Elvis over the years due to the most important ingredient in any creative endeavor: Passion. Bryan seems to have a strong passion for the subject, which will hopefully translate into a special film.
As with all Elvis dramatizations, though, another important aspect will be casting. This is even more important for a short film, I would say, because there is less time for the audience to connect with the character. For a movie such as Nobody to be taken seriously, a strong actor needs to be cast – not someone doing an Elvis caricature.
This should be a fun story to keep an eye on in the coming months. My thanks to William Bryan for taking part in an email interview for this article.