×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bana to rock & role in ‘Elvis & Nixon’

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content