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Elvis Presley finally gets a big-screen biopic

Music documentarian John Scheinfeld takes on the film adaptation of The King’s story from his bodyguard’s perspective

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Cultural icons don’t come any bigger than Elvis Presley, and yet, nearly 35 years after his death, the King’s real-life story has never been tackled in a feature film. Director John Scheinfeld is setting out to change that. Scheinfeld, who directed and codirected, respectively, the well-received rock documentaries Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) and The U.S. vs. John Lennon, has signed on to helm Fame & Fortune, a film adaptation of former Presley bodyguard Sonny West‘s 2007 book, Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business. West was one of Presley’s confidants from 1960 until 1976, when he and the singer had a falling-out, in part over Presley’s drug abuse; Fame & Fortune will chronicle that stretch of Presley’s life from West’s perspective. ”I liken this movie a bit to The King’s Speech in the sense that it’s really an intimate drama about the extraordinary friendship between two guys,” says Scheinfeld, who is currently rewriting the script. Presley’s estate isn’t involved in the project thus far, but the director says he’s hoping for ”a good relationship.” And while the film doesn’t yet have a set list, Scheinfeld wants Presley’s TCB Band to play some of the tracks. ”Our intention is to have as much music in the film as we can,” he says. Still, finding someone who can convincingly play the singer from age 25 to 42 may be Scheinfeld’s biggest challenge (Kurt Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers played Presley in two notable TV productions). ”My thinking at the moment is that we’ll go for an unknown,” he says about casting, which begins this fall. ”We’ll do a worldwide search and we’ll take as long as it takes.”