pretenders to Elvis' throne
by ANDY EDELSTEIN, Newsday.com (May 3, 2005)
better than one night with the King? How about two nights?
That's what viewers will get next week when CBS airs the two-part,
four-hour docudrama "Elvis" (Sunday and Wednesday at 9 p.m.).
why is this movie different from Elvisfests of the past?
one, it's being produced with the Presley estate's permission.
(That has happened only once before.)
two, Elvis is being portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("Bend
It Like Beckham," "Alexander"), an Irishman who was born 20
days before Elvis died in 1977. As such, Rhys Meyers joins
an elite club: actors who have played Presley on TV or in
a guide to these cinematic impersonators.
(1979 TV movie)
by: Kurt Russell
bio: At this point in his career, the future Mr. Goldie Hawn
was regarded as basically an aging Disney child star ("The
Barefoot Executive," "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes"). In
fact, as a 10-year-old, Russell had a role in the 1963 Elvis
movie "It Happened at the World's Fair."
plot: Soon-to-be horrormeister John Carpenter directed this
biopic that traced the singer's career from his rise to his
Las Vegas years in the late 1960s.
Was one of the highest-rated TV movies ever, drawing more
viewers than a rerun of "Gone With the Wind" that aired opposite
it ... Kurt Russell's father, Bing, played Elvis' father,
Vernon ... Russell would marry Season Hubley, who played Priscilla.
They later split.
and the Beauty Queen (1981 TV movie)
by: Don Johnson
bio: Three years before he made Armani jackets and T-shirts
a fashion statement in "Miami Vice," Johnson was the hunky
star of such B-movies as "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart"
and "The Harrad Experiment," not to mention TV classics such
as "Ski Lift to Death" and "Revenge of the Stepford Wives."
plot: Post-Priscilla, Elvis hooks up with 21-year-old Miss
Universe contestant Linda Thompson (Stephanie Zimbalist of
"Remington Steele" fame), who vainly attempts to get him to
kick drugs ... before it's too late.
A year earlier, director Gus Trikonis had helmed "Touched
by Love," a movie about a girl with cerebral palsy (a very
young Diane Lane, star of the upcoming film "Must Love Dogs")
who is encouraged by her therapist (Deborah Raffin, who has
appeared in and directed "7th Heaven") to start a pen-pal
relationship with her favorite fried peanut-butter-and-banana-chomping
and Me (1988 TV movie)
by: Dale Midkiff
bio: Played the young Jock Ewing in the 1986 TV movie prequel,
"Dallas: The Early Years."
plot: This TV mini-series, based on (one-time "Dallas" cast
member) Priscilla Presley's bestseller of the same name, told
the story of their tumultuous relationship -- from her point
The only other Elvis film besides next week's CBS miniseries
to be done with the Presley estate's OK... . Midkiff beat
Patrick Swayze for the part of Elvis. Following the mini-series,
the highest-rated of that season, he was offered parts in
three pilots. On a career high, he said, "Once you've played
Elvis, man, nothing can touch you."
(1990 TV series)
by: Michael St. Gerard
bio: Played Tracy Turnblad's (Ricki Lake) boyfriend in John
Waters' movie "Hairspray." He was cast as Elvis after he played
the King in the 1989 Jerry Lee Lewis film "Great Balls of
Fire." The plot: A half-hour ABC series that, week by week,
tracked Elvis' life in '54 and '55, before he became famous.
St. Gerard also played Elvis in a 1993 episode of the time-travel
series "Quantum Leap."
and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993 TV movie)
by: Rob Youngblood
bio: Not to be confused with Rob Lowe, who starred in the
movie "Youngblood," this actor made guest appearances on such
shows as "MacGyver" and "Coach."
The weird relationship between the singer and the man who
made him an international superstar, Col. Tom Parker (Beau
Bridges). Elvis narrates the movie from "beyond the grave."
Phil Penningroth, who adapted "Amy Fisher: My Story" for TV,
worked on the film. So did William A. Graham, who directed
the Elvis film "Change of Habit." And Ronnie McDowell, who
provided Elvis vocals not only for this film but also "Elvis
and Me." And Dick Clark, who produced it and the Russell "Elvis"
Meets Nixon (1997, made-for-cable movie)
by: Rick Peters
bio: Journeyman character actor.
"Mockumentary" about Elvis' three-day 1970 trip from Graceland
to the White House to become a federal marshal under the DEA,
and his subsequent meeting with the president.
Before taking the part, Peters, who recently appeared in "CSI:
Miami," said of Elvis: "I kind of wrote him off as being an
overweight bum." ... Watch for a cameo by Nixon assistant
the Line (upcoming 2005 movie)
by: Tyler Hilton
bio: Currently winning the hearts of tween girls everywhere
in the WB series "One Tree Hill."
plot: The film, to be released in November, is about Johnny
Cash (Joaquin Phoenix). Presley and Cash were labelmates in
the early 1950s at Memphis' legendary Sun Records.
Hilton told MTV: "I'm such a big Elvis fan, and I would have
been bummed if anyone else got this part. I would've been
rules on television"