When Elvis met Nixon, and inspired a US comedy movie
Published: 2016-04-19 20:19:25.0 BdST Updated: 2016-04-19 20:20:21.0 BdST
The most requested photo in the US National Archives is not the first moon landing or the burning twin towers after the attacks of Sep 11, 2001.
It is actually a picture of President Richard Nixon shaking hands with Elvis Presley in the Oval Office in December 1970 after the meeting between two pivotal figures in 20th century America.
"Elvis & Nixon", a comedy movie that reimagines their unlikely White House encounter, opens in US theatres on Friday after premiering at New York's Tribeca film festival. It is distributed by Amazon Studios.
Kevin Spacey (Nixon) knows a thing or two about playing a president after years as the scheming Frank Underwood on the TV series "House of Cards".
But Michael Shannon, who plays Presley, was just 3 years old when the singer died in 1977.
"We weren't, either of us, trying to do caricatures," Spacey, who spent hours listening to tapes of Nixon and watching video of the president, told Reuters in an interview.
Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 12, 2014. Reuters
Nixon had not begun his secret Oval Office recordings, so the screenwriters relied largely on first-hand accounts from Presley confidant Jerry Schilling and Nixon aide Bud Krogh.
Shannon, whose Presley is quiet, lonely and reflective, never imagined himself playing the "King of Rock 'n' Roll".
"I didn't go into it being a huge Elvis fan. I didn't have his records or anything," the Kentucky-born actor said.
"But I am really happy I had a reason to investigate Elvis because there is nobody else like him, not just in terms of the scope of his fame but in the unique construct of his life. I think he was always trying to figure out 'why me?'"
Actor Michael Shannon arrives at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 27, 2016. Reuters
He also learned karate for a scene in which Presley demonstrated his black belt moves for an astonished Nixon.
Spacey relished the chance to play a very different kind of president, and to present a rarely seen side of Nixon.
"I just hoped that if I was able to create a Nixon who had enough of the qualities about who he particularly was, that people wouldn't think about Frank Underwood, even though I am on an Oval Office set."
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