Barry Levinson is set to direct “The Colonel and Me,” a Warner Bros. film about the mentoring influence that Elvis Presley manager Col. Tom Parker had on producer Jerry Weintraub.
Bo Goldman (“Scent of a Woman”) is writing the script, and Weintraub is producing.
Weintraub, who’s currently reassembling Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and others for an “Ocean’s Twelve” shoot next year, got his big break when Parker tapped him to promote Presley’s concerts.
Parker, who hailed from the South, took the young New Yorker under his wing and became a father figure.
Weintraub has long felt their tale had the makings of a good movie, originally enlisting Ron Shelton to write and direct it. Parker was an ex-carnival pitchman who reinvented himself as the gatekeeper for Presley.
While Parker has been criticized for taking up to 50% of Presley’s money and putting him into some bad movies, Presley might never have become a household name if not for Parker’s relentless marketing and promotion.
Levinson, who just directed Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Christopher Walken in the Castle Rock comedy “Envy” at DreamWorks, has long wanted to make a music-themed movie.
He once developed a Bobby Darin biopic, a film Kevin Spacey now will direct and topline.
While Presley will be just a nominal presence in the film, the musical backdrop fulfills Levinson’s desire.