×

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

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content