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|LOST ELVIS INTERVIEW SHARED WITH MICHAEL SHANNON
Michael Shannon gifted lost Elvis interview
April 24, 2016 - Xpose / Elvis Express Radio
Actor Michael Shannon was given a real treat as he prepared to play Elvis Presley in new movie Nixon & Elvis - an unheard interview The King recorded with his pal Jerry Schilling.
The Man of Steel star was trying to perfect Elvis' voice without sounding like a cheap impersonator when he met Schilling and asked for his advice, and he was thrilled when the
expert offered him rare access to the rock great's private world.
"I just watched the films and That's The Way It Is, Elvis On Tour," Michael tells WENN about his initial research. "I watched press conferences, particularly one he did in Houston.
And I found that enlightening.
"I also got a great gift from Jerry Schilling - a 45-minute interview that Elvis had recorded for Elvis On Tour which they didn't wind up using in the movie at all, so it's an interview not
many people have heard. I listened to it constantly."
In return, Schilling made Shannon promise not to make any short cuts in portraying Elvis and really take the role seriously.
"Jerry Schilling gave us our marching orders in the beginning," Shannon smiles. "He said, 'I don't want this to be silly'. He kind of shepherded this project along. It was very sensitive
"He's been asked over the years to be involved in projects and he's always declined. When he got on board he gave us his support and was on set every day; that meant a lot."
And Shannon had a magical encounter with Schilling, when Elvis' old pal received a call from The King's former wife Priscilla: "I still don't know if Priscilla had seen the film yet, but I
was in Jerry's car driving around Memphis with him and his cellphone rang and it was Priscilla calling from London. He was like, 'Yeah, I'm sitting next to Mike; he's gonna play Elvis'.
It was one of the more surreal experiences of my life."
Director Liza Johnson also felt the pressure of portraying Elvis properly, but admits one of the more silly scenes she agonised over proved to be a big hit.
"I was concerned about the comic moments in the trailer and I thought for the people who have a stake in the representation of Elvis, I wondered how that would be," she says.
"Some of the people at Graceland saw it and their favourite scene was the most absurd, which was the karate scene where Elvis uses his knuckles. I'm told that Elvis' cousin
appreciated that moment because they did play a game like that."