ELVIS & NIXON
About The Production
The idea to make a feature film about the meeting between Elvis Presley and
Richard Nixon was originally inspired by a portrait of an unsmiling Elvis,
facing the camera and in profile, mugshotstyle, that hangs in the home of
producer Cassian Elwes. At a Christmas party, Elwes' longtime friend, Joey Sagal,
also an Elvis impersonator, explained the story behind artist Russell Young's
silkscreened artwork. "He told me the picture was taken when Elvis secretly went
to Washington and became an undercover narcotics agent,"recalls Elwes. "He
said, 'This is the official photograph from Elvis getting the badge.' And I go,
'What are you talking about?' So Joey proceeded to tell the whole story."
Encouraged by Elwes, Sagal, who appeared as Elvis in Steve Martin's play
"Picasso at the Lapin Agile,"and his then wife, Hanala, worked together on a
first draft of Elvis & Nixon. Cassian's brother, actor and screenwriter Cary
Elwes, later expanded the script into its final form.
Essential to fleshing out the story were two first-hand accounts of the meeting
and the events leading up to it. The memoir Me and a Guy Named Elvis, by
longtime Presley confidant Jerry Schilling, became a road map for the writers in
early drafts. The handwritten notes taken during the meeting by Nixon counsel
Egil "Bud"Krogh, which he later compiled into his own account, The Day Elvis
Met Nixon, were incorporated into the final draft.
With Schilling offering Presley's side of the story and Krogh representing the
White House perspective, the producers knew they had the makings of a great
movie. "When I read the script I was like, 'I gotta make this movie,'"says
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