Corny jokes abounded Tuesday during a meeting of the State Investment Council, which unanimously approved a $7.5 million loan to the producers of "Elvis Has Left the Building," which will begin shooting in New Mexico next month.
The loan will nearly cover the cost of making the dark comedy, which will star Kim Basinger and a host of Elvis Presley lookalikes. It will be directed by Joel Zwick, who directed the low-budget smash "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Basinger will play a cosmetics peddler who, while traveling from Memphis to Las Vegas, Nev., leaves in her wake a trail of dead Elvis impersonators who die "hilariously and accidentally," according to producer Tova Laiter. The film is scheduled for release next year.
About 81 percent of the film's payroll will go to New Mexicans, including a locally-hired director of photography, according to the New Mexico Film Commission. The state will represent several locations, including Arizona, Tennessee and New York City.
The loan is a result of recent legislation which provides up to $22 million in production loans, with a limit of $7.5 million per project.