Thesp to play icon in Cary Elwes' helming debut; Danny Huston plays Nixon
Eric Bana and Danny Huston will play Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, respectively, in the indie pic “Elvis & Nixon,” which will mark the feature directorial debut of “The Princess Bride” star Cary Elwes.Michael Benaroya (“The Wettest County in theWorld”) will finance through his Benaroya Pictures banner and produce with Holly Wiersma, who has experience making movies about politicians, having previously produced the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy pic “Bobby.” Bana will exec produce via his Pick Up Truck Pictures shingle, which earned its first credit with 2009’s Bana-directed documentary “Love the Beast.” “Elvis & Nixon” will serve as the company’s first U.S. production. Inspired by a true historical event, Elwes decided to write the script with Joey Sagal and Hanala Sagal. On Dec. 21, 1970, Presley traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet President Nixon at the White House. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit and suggesting that he be made a ‘Federal Agent-at-Large’ in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Presley brought with him family photos and a Colt 45 pistol as a personal gift to Nixon. Elwes was so fascinated by how the improbable meeting between the two historical figures came to pass that he chose the unlikely summit as the subject of his first film as a writer-director. While the start date remains unclear, production will take place in Los Angeles and Shreveport, La. Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella have previously played Nixon on the bigscreen, while Presley has been played by Kurt Russell, Don Johnson and, most recently, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. Bana, who recently starred in Joe Wright’s “Hanna” and wrapped the indie “Blackbird,” just signed on to topline Lakeshore Entertainment’s diamond heist thriller “Brilliant.” Huston, who is in final negotiations to play Nixon, will reprise his role as Poseidon in Warmer Bros./Legendary’s “Clash of the Titans” sequel. Thesp next stars opposite Nicolas Cage in Simon West’s thriller “Medallion” and also co-stars in Starz’s original series “Magic City.” Bana is repped by WME and attorney Robert Offer, while ICM and Julian Belfrage Associates rep Huston. Elwes is repped by APA and KLWG Entertainment.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more