June 29, 2022

ELVIS: AGENT KING

Greetings, Spy Vibers! With secret agents booming in the 1960s, I've always wondered why Elvis didn't do an espionage movie. Hollywood was committed to churning out numerous films with him each year to support an identity that Elvis himself knew wasn't right. What began as a career hoping to follow the likes of Brando and Dean quickly became the endless parade of light musicals about tour guides, race car drivers, etc. Fluff. But the contracts were there. As he said in interviews, it became like a job and he just kept showing up for work each morning.  But what if they had floated a spy movie into the mix? Some of you might remember what a splash Buckaroo Bonzai made in 1984, with Peter Weller starring as a crime-fighting-rocker-hero. Elvis could have done it fifteen years earlier! If only someone had played with the formula a bit to make that work. Being an international touring star would have been a great cover, just as much as Robert Culp's tennis pro in I Spy or the countless stories involving fashion models. I can just imagine Elvis in 1966 sneaking through some great action sequences, using his karate to thwart baddies, wooing femme fatales, driving cool cars, scuba diving, surfing, and swaying international concert fans toward democracy. It could have been fantastic, depending on how the scripts navigated that line between pop fun and parody. I've asked Pricilla on-line if Elvis was ever offered a secret agent role, but I've had no response yet. But she and Jerry Schilling have been involved in recent years in developing a new action animated series about just this premise! Well, kind of. In the upcoming Netflix show, Agent King, Elvis will finally be recruited as a spy! What's more, notable fashion designer John Varvatos is apparently on tap to maintain Elvis' amazing sense of style. From the press coverage: "Agent King is an upcoming adult animated action comedy series created by Priscilla Presley and John Eddie. The series is about the King himself, Elvis Presley. The announcement of the series pickup came at the end of “Elvis Week” and on the 42nd anniversary of Elvis’ death. Priscilla Presley and John Eddie will executive produce with Authentic Brands Group’s Jamie Salter. Mike Arnold will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer. Fletcher Moules will serve as supervising director and co-executive producer. Marc Rosen and Corey Salter also will co-executive produce. Legendary designer, John Varvatos will custom design Elvis’ entire wardrobe for the series, and will serve as a consulting producer on the series, along with Jerry Schilling." In interviews with Slash Film, Moules revealed that the show will have a Forrest Gump vibe, in that Elvis will cross paths with many real-life people and situations. The examples I've heard about so far from early concept work are much more gritty (graphic violence and drugs- my two least favorite topics) and over-the-top than expected. They're apparently going for an animated adult show. Alas, maybe Agent King will be more 1970s exploitation and splatter than 1960s fantasy. I probably won't watch it (I find the world already gritty enough), but some readers might enjoy! What I'm most excited about is the design work by Robert Valley, who always brings an amazing sense of style and energy. Check out Robert's designs for short Beatles, Gorillaz, and Wonder Woman projects, as well as Tron Uprising (available on Disney Plus)! I don't see a release date yet, but I imagine the success of the new Elvis biopic by Bar Luhrmann will get it on track soon. Perhaps we'll be hearing more from Pricilla and Jerry in interviews around the release. I'd love to finally learn if there were any spy scripts from the Sixties that might have been.


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