Around a month ago, Warner Bros released the first trailer for the upcoming Elvis movie. Baz Luhrmann’s biopic will chart the life and career of The King through the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. The creative team behind the film have consulted Graceland and others like the star’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley about the project, although some family members aren’t sure what they’re going to make of the movie’s accuracy, having seen the first footage.
Elvis Presley‘s cousin and last surviving original Memphis Mafia member Billy Smith knew The King before he was famous and was one of the last people to see the star alive.
On his YouTube channel Elvis Fans Matter, he said: “I just won’t go to the movies to see something like that now. When it comes on TV, I’ll probably wind up watching it sooner or later. It’ll be interesting to me to see how Tom Hanks plays The Colonel. Outside of that, I don’t know. I’ll probably get around to watching it, but I don’t know when or where or if I’m going to be here to watch it, but we’ll see. And with that, I don’t care nothing else about this subject.”
When he and his wife Jo, who used to spend hours talking to Elvis in his Graceland bedroom, were asked if they were consulted for the movie, they said no and added: “It’s from another point of view.”
Jo said: “A lot of the people that are asked have already told so much stuff that it has to fit in with what they’ve already told or the real stuff they really don’t want to know. That’s what I feel.”
Their son Danny Smith, who knew Elvis and grew up at Graceland, is concerned about accuracy too and hopes Baz’s movie will be true to the real King.
He said on his Memphis Mafia Kid Channel: “I’m hoping to see what this new one’s about and maybe it gets a little more to the T to the Elvis that was. Hopefully, it’ll be a good movie, but however it looks so far like it’s going to be the same old same old, but hey we’ll see about that one.”
He was also asked if The King’s manager Colonel Tom Parker really spoke with that accent.
Danny replied: “I’ve seen the trailer and no he did not. The real Colonel Parker did not talk with an accent.”
Despite their reservations, the Smith family appear to be fans of the Kurt Russell Elvis TV movie from 1979. The star’s first acting gig ever was as a kid opposite The King himself in 1963’s It Happened at the World’s Fair, when he had to kick the singer a few times in the shin.
Billy said of Kurt’s take on Elvis: “My favourite one, and I thought he did a great job, was the Kurt Russell one. I watch a lot of Elvis on TV, but I like Kurt Russell.
And Danny said: “I haven’t seen an Elvis movie that was right on T. As far as Kurt Russell playing the part of Elvis, I thought Kurt did a good job.”
Last summer, Priscilla shared her concerns about the Elvis movie, even though she’d met with Baz.
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Speaking at Elvis Week, Priscilla said: “To be honest with you… I don’t know anything about what’s going on with that movie. Baz came to my home a couple of times. He said he’d send me the script once he was back in Australia, still working on it. I have not received it, which makes me a little nervous. Actually a lot nervous because Baz can be…y’know he kind of goes off-beat a bit. So I don’t know what he’s planning on doing. I just don’t know what direction he’s going to take it in. Y’know he has his own ideas. He has talked to people. So it all depends on who he’s talked to really.”
Elvis hits cinemas on June 24, 2022.