|'EVENING AT ELVIS' HOME TURNS INTO PERFORMANCE VENUE
October 22, 2015 - By Joshua Cannon, University of Memphis / Elvis Express Radio
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Between train whistles and rumbling trucks, a 12-year-old boy got a lesson in all things Elvis on Wednesday.
The kid was Ben, and he’s not going to keep what he learned to himself. He’s a fictional character in a short movie, “Live the Dream: Choices and Consequences,” and filming will
continue today and Friday at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum.
“When it’s finished, we’ll show it to sixth-graders when they visit,” said Dick Guyton, chairman of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation. “This is the second movie of two.”
The first movie, “Dream the Dream,” was filmed in 2013, and it was geared toward third-grade students who visited the Birthplace.
As with the first film, this one uses Elvis’ story as a way to teach young people about life’s possibilities.
“We don’t want it to be too preachy,” said Glen Allison, the writer and producer, “but we wanted to look at choices, not just the negative aspects but the positives. You have the
chance to make good choices.”
Filming started at the overlook, near a statue of Elvis as a young boy sitting in front of another statue of a triumphant, world-famous Elvis.
“Everyone is human, even superstars,” said Allison, owner of AllisonDigital. “He made good and bad choices, just like everybody.”
In “Live the Dream,” Ben is at a crossroads, and Leo is there to point him in the right direction.
“Leo is an angel, basically,” said Darius Wallace, who plays the character. “I imagine him to be the spirit of the grounds.”
In an earlier movie, Wallace portrayed a juke joint owner who interacted with a young Elvis, and the filmmakers decided he would be perfect for the role of mentor in “Live the
Carter Maharrey, a 12-year-old Tupelo resident, plays Ben. He also appeared in “Dream the Dream” and can attest that the first film got people’s attention.
“Fourth-graders see me and say, ‘Hey, you were in that movie. I remember you,’” Carter said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
This is director Jennifer Hamilton Collins’ first time behind the camera, though she’s directed plays and performed numerous roles as an actor. She gives credit to director of
photography Derek Courtright for knowing what shots to get.
“He’s been on top of that, so I’ve been an acting coach,” she said.
She’s also learned to rely on the production’s sound man, Mike Iacopelli, because Tupelo’s trains, trucks and motorcycles have been unexpected challenges during filming.
“When you’re up here talking to a friend or taking the tour, you don’t notice the noise,” Collins said, “but when you’re up here recording, you really notice it.”
According to the script, special effects will make it look as though Ben and Leo are flying. An animation sequence is also planned.
“That’s what’s so great about being the writer,” Allison said. “You dream it up and somebody else has to make it happen.”
He said the finished film should be ready by spring.