CBS Mini Series On Elvis

CBS can't help falling in love with Elvis. Eye is developing a four-hour movie about the king of rock 'n' roll, and has the blessing of the Elvis Presley estate for the project. As a result, the movie - tentativelydubbed "Elvis" - will be the first TV project to use master recordings of some of Presley's biggest hits, CBS said. Jaffe/Braunstein Films is producing, with Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari ("Six FeetUnder") on board as exec producers along with Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe ("10.5"). Patrick Sheane Duncan ("Courage Under Fire," "Mr. Holland's Opus") is attached to write the pic, which is targeted for next season. Braunstein said getting the Presley estate on board was key to the decision to pursue "Elvis." "We thought that if you're going to do this right, you just can't do it without their co-operation," Braunstein said. "They're going to open their archives for us, and that means we really get first-hand information about his life rather than just some biography." Idea for the project was first hatched more than 18 months ago, with the producers working to secure the OK from Presley's estate. "I just thought this story had never been told in a complete and classy way," said Greenblatt, who first approached Elvis Presley Enterprises with the idea. "The closest thing was the Kurt Russell project (in 1979), and that was only two hours." Real thing Previous telepics about Presley have used sound-alikes to record Presley's songs, Braunstein said. Individual Elvis songs have been licensed for feature soundtracks. Using the original master recordings will give the CBS project an authenticity other projects lacked, the producer said. "When our Elvis actor opens his mouth, it'll be Elvis' voice that comes out," Greenblatt said. Despite the cooperation of the Presley estate, "Elvis" won't offer a whitewashed version of history. "We told the estate from the beginning that we want to do warts and all," Braunstein said."The estate understands that you need to tell the true version of his story. And hopefully, with access to the archives, we can learn all sorts of new and provocative things." Added Greenblatt: "The estate is not afraid of doing the darker side (of Presley). It just wants it done with class and integrity, like Craig (Zadan) and Neil (Meron) did with theirJudy Garland movie." "Elvis" won't be a birth-to-death biopic of the king, but Braunstein's not sure yet which parts of Presley's life will be included in the movie. Elvis expert Greenblatt said snagging Duncan to write the project is also a coup. "We had no idea when we first talked to him, but he is a complete Elvis nut -- and I say that in the most positive way," he said. "He's the perfect expert and a great writer, rolled into one." Numerous telepics and features have been made about Presley, but Braunstein thinks the public's appetite for all things King remains strong. "The CD collections released a couple years ago went to the top of the charts," he said. "This man still has an enormous fan base." Braunstein/Jaffe's "Brooke Ellison" was greenlit to production at A&E two weeks ago with Christopher Reeve on board to helm the tale of a quadriplegic youth who graduates with honors from Harvard.
Source: Variety / Updated: May 14, 2004 
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EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on May 17, 2004report abuse
No matter how good this production will be, I dont think I ever will actually relax and enjoy watching an actor play Elvis. It is something about Elvis that simply no actor can reproduce. Put Elvis' clothes, hairstyle, face expressions and body movement on anyone, and it looks silly no matter who it is. But when you see Elvis, everything is right. Only Elvis is Elvis. Its as simple as that. R.I.P.
Karatego (profilecontact) wrote on May 17, 2004report abuse
I'm not sure about this whole thing. They always turn out to be a disappointment and an embarrassment to Elvis and his fans. These kind of stories only want to focus on the negative and even if they don't, the media will only focus on the negative. I hope this one is different, but I sure hope who every they pick for Elvis does him justice and I hope they don't overexaggerate his appearance. They always have bad wigs and huge porkchop sideburns with a pot belly. And that is why the pubic only thinks of Elvis in that light because they always portray him that way.
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on May 15, 2004report abuse
Colin. Presumably EPE plan a documentary approach rather than a dramatised mini series. There should be room for both.
Colin B (profilecontact) wrote on May 15, 2004report abuse
Looks to me like EPE have 'contracted out' the 'ultimate' Elvis documentary they've been banging on about for years !
Because if they've given permission for Elvis' voice to be used, & granted access to the archives, what will be left for their own version ?
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on May 15, 2004report abuse
This could be promising, but I'm a little cautious by a few of the statements by the producers, namely 'we want to do warts and all' and 'we can learn all sorts of new and provocative things.' If this isn't going to be a birth to death biopic, I hope that in choosing what to focus on they don't get too bogged down with the negative. It's fine to take a 'warts and all' approach if there is a good balance of the positive and negative aspects of Elvis' life. My concern is that for dramatic purposes, that won't be the case. It's all too easy to demonise someone by piecing together their less flattering moments. Many have tried just that with Elvis in print. Also, it will be the negative, more sensationalistic parts of the show that will receive the most media coverage. Remember the furore over the recent Reagan series?
elvishimselvis (profilecontact) wrote on May 14, 2004report abuse
Andy we wont see that one for awhile. all we have are the terrible quality ones for now. but remember when we didnt even have those ones. This CBS mini-series actually sounds interesting. especially when they say when the actor opens his mouth it will be Elvis voice coming out. this might be very good
andy0862 (profilecontact) wrote on May 14, 2004report abuse
i would rather see a re-edited cbs in concert special released on dvd. how about a remastered and complete version of the rapid city concert from june 77. with off stage footage and maybe some interviews from james burton and charlie hodge etc. just an idea and most definitely more interesting to me.
dismas (profilecontact) wrote on May 14, 2004report abuse
What? No involvement from Peter Guralnick? His "Last Train To Memphis" and "Careless Love" two-book biography, as well as his "Elvis Day by Day" retrospective, deliver the definitive (to date) word on Elvis's life and career as far as I'm concerned. Does anyone out there know if his Elvis works have been optioned by some other producer/ film company? Also, who will take on the role of music advisor for the CBS miniseries? That will be a very important position regarding the show's level of artistic success in my opinion.
elvishimselvis (profilecontact) wrote on May 14, 2004report abuse
The best actors to play Elvis were Kurt Russell. Who really could move like Elvis in the songs and Michael Gerrard who looked alot like the 1950's Elvis. Maybe since its been 10 years since that show. He now looks like the 1960's Elvis but the rest of the TV biographies just made Elvis look bad. I have never ever liked the movie Elvis and Me. That guy looked nothing like Elvis and talked nothing like him and did no justice to Elvis. One of my all time favorite movies is Heartbreak Hotel. where the three Teenagers kidnap Elvis as a gift for the one guys mom, the movie is very cool and makes Elvis look good. Although the guy playing Elvis looks more like Neil Diamond. AND please use real Elvis songs, not an impersonator, it makes a huge difference to use Elvis voice in the songs.
dismas (profilecontact) wrote on May 14, 2004report abuse
Yeah, baby! But who on Earth is gonna do justice to Elvis in playing him on the small screen? Kurt Russell was great in "Elvis" all those years ago, but does anyone remember Don Johnson in "Elvis & the Beauty Queen" or Dale Midkiff in "Elvis & Me"? On a brighter note, Michael Gerrard fared much better as the young King in both "Great Balls of Fire" and the Elvis television series. Can't wait to see who is writing and directing, and what source material they're using. There's sure to be a soundtrack, so let's hope they mix in some great lesser-known material with all the familiar smashes so the general public can once again be exposed to the height and breadth of Elvis's great talent! Sure to be a promotional bonanza -- gribz should be thrilled!

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