On April 18, the Tribeca Film Festival presented the world premiere of “Elvis & Nixon” at BMCC Theater. The film tells the untold story of the meeting between Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) and Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey), immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives. The film also stars Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks and Evan Peters. It was directed by Liza Johnson. “Well, the photograph is pretty famous, and finding out how that all came to be I thought was pretty engaging, but also was a fantastic chance to work with Kevin Spacey and Micheal Shannon. Those are two actors I admire greatly and when you get to be in a movie with them where you have these long seven or eight page scenes, those are fun scenes to shoot with actors of that caliber,” Colin Hanks told byteclay.com on the red carpet.
Co-writer Hanala Sagal spoke about how she came to work on the project: “Actually my ex-husband Joey Sagal told me and Cassian Elwes about the story, about what really happened. Joey—it was his idea—he said to Cassian: ‘this should be a movie.’ So Cassian said to us—well, me primarily, because I had written screenplays, and a book, and television for twenty years, if you write it I’ll produce it. So, within thirty days, what I did was to get all the DVD’s of the time, the archive footage … all of them talking about the meeting. I read every book about—especially Jerry’s book—and I highlighted parts. And, then it occurred to me, I had just written a bromance, that it really should be about Jerry. Because my book, my parents went through the Holocaust, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. Took ten years to write, it was depressing. I call it a traumedy because it was mostly funny. But I had to relive my parents’ experience and growing up with them. So even though I made it more funny than anything, it was horrific. I didn’t want anything unhappy, but Jerry Schilling, who did the trip with Elvis, went on to manage the Beach Boys and Billy Joel—great ending. You know, happy, all this, whereas Elvis did not end happy. And I didn’t want to write about a man who had a tragic end, after writing ten years of the Holocaust book. So when I read about Jerry and what happened to him, I made Jerry the hero. And so Jerry is the one who ultimately gets Elvis into see Nixon, and when I thought about that, it was a wonderful moment in my life.”
Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor plays a stewardess that Elvis takes off of a plane. She said working with Shannon was “a little intimidating. I think he’s so amazing. I’ve had no real acting experience. It was a phone call, a flight to New Orleans, and before I knew it I was across from Michael Shannon. It was trippy, but it was awesome. He was wonderful.” After the screening, Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer, Sky Ferreira, Rachel Leigh Cook, Colin Hanks, Rose McGowan, Keegan Michael Key and Michael Kelly celebrated the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival premiere at the official after-party sponsored by Bai Beverages. The party was held at The Jane. The film is now playing.