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Elvis Presley Film Explores His Gospel Music Influence

AP

Elvis Presley loved gospel music and often called band members and backup singers to his suite after a performance to sing the music he learned as a child. Those impromptu sessions often lasted into the wee hours of the morning as the King led guests through rousing renditions of everything from ‘Amazing Grace’ to the latest gospel tune he had heard and loved.

A new film, ‘The Identical,’ is set to examine this gospel-influenced side of one of the best-known performers who has ever stepped onto a stage or made a recording. The $3 million independent project from Nashville’s City of Peace Films will star Ryan Pelton, who is a real-life Elvis impersonator and does an entire show based on the iconic entertainer’s gospel influences.

Earlier this week, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that ‘The Identical’ was one of four films in various stages of development about the Mississippi-born singer. Howie Klausner, screenwriter for ‘Space Cowboys,’ wrote the script for ‘Identical.’

The other three films that are in production are ‘Fame & Fortune,’ ‘Last Train to Memphis’ and ‘Elvis & Nixon.’ ‘Last Train to Memphis’ is based on Peter Guralnick’s book of the same name, while ‘Elvis & Nixon’ is based on the singer’s meeting with President Nixon in 1970. Eric Bana will portray the legendary singer, with Luke Wilson playing Elvis’ bodyguard, Sonny West. Danny Huston has been in negotiations to handle the role of the former president. Elvis visited the White House after writing the President a six-page letter suggesting he be made a ‘Federal-Agent-at-Large’ in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The meeting took place on Dec. 21, 1970, at which time Elvis presented the Commander-in-Chief with several gifts, including a Colt .45 pistol.

Elvis received a total of 14 Grammy nominations but won just three Grammys in his lifetime — all in the gospel music category — for the albums ‘How Great Thou Art’ (1967) and ‘He Touched Me’ (1972) and for a live concert recording of ‘How Great Thou Art’ in 1974. He was also recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.


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