[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s no icon quite like Elvis Presley, with that status due to be cemented further still through the upcoming biopic Last Train to Memphis. Now the project has found its director, Kevin MacDonald, who gave us The Last King of Scotland.
Based on the 1995 biography by Peter Guralnick, the film will concentrate on Mississippi’s favourite son from his teenage years to his coming-of-age as a rock n’ roll star. This means that those of you hoping to see a re-enactment of his comeback, with hits such as In the Ghetto, are out of luck, but it does mean that the movie will examine closely how the entire music scene changed forever through one man – in a nutshell, the dawn of a new era.
As anyone who has watched the 1979 TV version that starred Kurt Russell can testify, a full-blown life story can make for painfully long viewing at times. This more streamlined production will be in no danger of outstaying its welcome and we will see only one incarnation of Elvis, rather than watching an actor evolve as the film wears on – the equivalent of what Backbeat did for John Lennon.
Last Train to Memphis wasn’t the only one of its kind in the offing, as Growing Up Graceland was also looking good to get out of the blocks. But with Fox 2000 having signed up MacDonald, and Mick Jagger as producer to boot, there should be no stopping Last Train from runaway success.
What’s really exciting about all of this is that Fox 2000 are holding an open audition for the lead. Yes, any young man aged 18-22 who fancies his chances of landing this gilt-edged role, is invited to post an audition tape, singing six to eight bars of any Elvis song of their choosing, at youngelviscasting.com.
As for MacDonald, he has previous in this genre with last year’s rockumentary Marley, charting the life and career of the reggae superstar. Of course we all know about Jagger’s credentials, but what some of you may not be aware of is that he is also set to produce the imminent James Brown biopic, Get On Up, while Fox 2000 proved that they can pull off this kind of thing with the Oscar-winning Walk the Line. Hot damn, with a pedigree like this, there is surely no doubt that even The King himself would approve!
These are exciting times for fans of the music biopic genre as a whole, but Last Train to Memphis could, and perhaps should, be the one that sets the standard.