While many people are buzzing about the upcoming motion picture, Elvis & Nixon, some are searching for the truth behind the mask of comedy and plot twists…
The film revolves around an interaction between Fmr. President Richard Nixon and the late Elvis Presley back in December 1970.
Presley, alongside longtime friend Jerry Shilling visited the President on that day nearly 50 years ago. Now, Shilling stands as executive producer on the film and reveals what the real story behind different pieces of the film are – and how they have been changed.
Schilling tells People how some of the more outlandish plot points – especially some you see in the trailer, were a bit wild.
“Obviously it’s a comedy and it’s a little more over the top than the way Elvis really was,” he says referencing a scene where The King slips a gun past the Secret Service. “I mean we would have never gotten into the Oval Office if he was sneaking in guns in his boots and stuff like that.”
One of the scenes that Schilling found ridiculous and pushed to have cut from the film ended up staying in – as it had a standing back story that he wasn’t aware of.
The film depicts a segment with Elvis and Nixon playing a hand-slapping game, of which, Schilling says he “had a major problem with” and he “thought that was way over the top”. But, when he spoke with Presley’s cousin, Regina, she was in love with the scene, revealing that they “used to do that as a family all the time”, calling it her “favorite scene”.
Schilling admits that, at first, he was very leery of the film as he was afraid it might turn Elvis’ memory into a giant joke, but years later – the former member of the “Memphis Mafia” tells how he decided to be come an executive producer on the project.
“I realized the filmmakers really had a great admiration for Elvis,” he explains. “Nobody was trying to put down either Nixon or Elvis. They were not making fun of them, they were having fun with them.”
The movie portrays Elvis’ drive for meeting the President is due to his disgust at images of the Vietnam War protests, and has decided that the country needs his assistance. He leaps to a jet and personally hands a letter to the White House, demanding to see Nixon. Upon meeting him, he expresses his hope to be made “an agent at large” to perform undercover duties for the FBI.
The real reason for the meeting is much simpler…
Elvis truly just wanted a special badge. One from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Priscill Presley explained in her memoir that “the narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him”.
“The official badges that he had gave him the right to carry concealed weapons domestically,” Schilling added. “But Elvis had a couple of very serious death threats at the time, and he wanted a federal badge so that he could carry concealed weapons abroad.”
Watch the trailer for the film below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!