Elvis movie casts BB King actor: Blues legend met ‘shy’ star pre-fame ‘He had everything’

Tom Hanks shows off new haircut for role in Elvis film

The Elvis Presley movie is one of this year’s most hotly anticipated biopics and no doubt will attract much attention at the 2022 Oscars. Baz Luhrmann’s film stars Austin Butler as The King and Tom Hanks as Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker. The Warner Bros movie has been shooting in Queensland, Australia and chronicles the life and career of Elvis, with a focus on his relationships with The Colonel and wife Priscilla Presley.

Elvis knew many contemporary stars like Johnny Cash and BB King and now the latter has been cast in the 2021 movie.

According to Deadline, The Trial of the Chicago 7’s Kelvin Harrison Jr will play the Blues legend who died aged 89-years-old in 2015.

Like Elvis, BB King spent part of his life living in Memphis, Tennessee and met the star before he was famous at Sun Studios.

Speaking with Charlie Rose in 1996, BB King spoke warmly of talent and good looks.

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BB King said: “Elvis was very shy when I first met him.

“He was a handsome guy, good lookin’ but I didn’t think too much about his playing or singing.

“I mean he was okay, but I didn’t see at that time what I saw later on.”

The Blues guitarist went on to say how Elvis had everything that destined him for stardom.


BB King continued: “He had everything. The looks, the talent, he had everything. He’s handsome, he’s tall, he looks good, he sings, he can play.”

Also cast in the Elvis movie is Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley. Plus Luke Bracey as Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling and David Wenham as Hank Snow.

Rufus Sewell and Maggie Gyllenhaal were originally set to play Elvis’ parents Vernon and Gladys Presley.

However, they had to drop out due to other filming commitments when production was temporarily shut down because of coronavirus.

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Instead, Richard Roxburgh, best known as The Duke in Moulin Rouge!, will portray Vernon and theatre actress Helen Thomson will play Gladys.

Tom Hanks has had to shave his head to play The Colonel, which he revealed on The Graham Norton Show on New Year’s Eve.

Also appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the 64-year-old star said: “Let’s just say the people who played gorillas in Planet of the Apes spent less time in the make-up chair than I did on this movie.”

He also shared how he had dinner with Priscilla Presley, who surprised him by defending The Colonel’s character.

Hanks said: “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years. And she said, ‘No. He was a wonderful man, and I wish he was alive today. He took really great care of us. He was a scoundrel in his way.’”

According to the official synopsis, Elvis is “seen through the prism of [Presley’s] complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley.”

Elvis is released in cinemas on November 5, 2021.


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