We gave it a C
Two years after Lichtenstein’s low budget 1997 debut, ”Lowball,” went nowhere, then business partner Lynn Oddo picked ”Graceland” from his trove of more than 20 unproduced screenplays and told the native New Yorker, This one will make you a star — if you go Hollywood. ”And I said, ‘I cannot tell a lie. I want to be a blockbuster director,”’ says the filmmaker, who within a year had moved west, befriended Costner, and started shooting this tale of Elvis impersonating bandits who pull a casino heist.
Russell, who did Elvis in a 1979 TV biopic, plays an ex con. A more interesting drama may have played out after shooting ended: Costner has said that he and Russell disagreed about the editing, with Costner supporting the director. One producer confirms the stars had separate visions but insists they collaborated on the edit with Lichtenstein. Regardless, the director is pleased. ”It’s a cross between ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Ocean’s 11’ with a little ‘True Romance’ for flavor,” he says. ”It’s a total ride.”