As fans worldwide celebrate what would have been Elvis’ 60th birthday on Jan. 8, “Forrest Gump” co-producer Steve Tisch has teamed with Gary Goodman to beat out several studios for the rights to Peter Guralnick’s acclaimed Presley biography, “Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley,” published by Little Brown.
The book sold for low-six-figures against mid-six-figures in a deal brokered by CAA’s Bob Bookman. Tisch said he and Goodman plan to find a writer and go back to the interested studios to package a feature about Elvis’ early years.
“The country continues to have this insatiable fascination with Presley,” Tisch said. “He was more than a performer. He’s become an icon, part of the fabric of this country. Guralnick’s book is a truly gifted look into his early years, tracing Elvis from his birth in Tupelo to September 1958, when he was drafted.”
Tisch said he has spoken to the executor of Presley’s estate, which has pledged cooperation. “We’ll need the music rights, and a generous portion of the film’s budget has to be allocated to music,” he said.
Who’d be right to play a young Elvis? “The only name who comes to mind right now is Jim Carrey,” joked Tisch. Carrey seems to have become right for just about every role in Hollywood, so why not the King?