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December 9, 2011

Upcoming Elvis Biopic to Focus on Faith

'The Identical' is one of four Presley pictures in the works, according to 'Hollywood Reporter'

Since the success of Ray and The Man in Black, biopics about Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, respectively, Hollywood execs -- not to mention millions of music fans -- have been clamoring for a major motion picture about the life of Elvis Presley.

The Hollywood Reporter recently noted that at least four Elvis flicks are in various stage of development, but perhaps the most surprising is one titled The Identical, which will have "a faith-based bent," focusing on "Presley's interest in gospel music and his religious roots." That movie, adapted by screenwriter Howie Klausner (Space Cowboys) will star Ryan Pelton (pictured here), a real-life Elvis impersonator, and will include licensed Presley music.

The Identical will be produced by City of Peace films, which has a mission statement to create products with “redeeming value” and "bringing a message of hope, love and encouragement to this generation." Studio president Yochanan Marcellino said that he wasn't planning to say much about The Identical until THP broke its story, but now says, "It's clearly God's timing for word of this film to start getting out."

In a video on his website, Pelton said that he "can't give many details" about the film, but confirmed that it would shoot January through April 2012. "It's very exciting," he said, "and very uplifting. I'm humbled to be involved in the project. It's going to be something very special."

Presley, who died in 1977, was nominated 14 times for Grammy awards, but surprisingly won only three, all for gospel albums: 1967's How Great Thou Art, 1972's He Touched Me, and 1974's live recording of the song “How Great Thou Art.” Elvis recorded over 80 gospel songs during his career. Biographer Peter Ramsey wrote, "“Elvis started singing hymns as a child, attending church with his mother. There are many stories about Elvis’ respect for Christ. . . . One night at a concert fans unfurled a massive banner while Elvis was singing. The banner read: ‘Elvis is King!’ Elvis stopped in the middle of his song and clearly stated in the microphone: ‘There is only one king and He is Jesus Christ.’"

Presley was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Here's a video of Pelton, in Elvis mode, singing "Peace in the Valley" with The Imperials several years ago:


As long as it is Elvis Presley's own remarkable and versatile voice we hear it will be welcomed by Elvis fans.

Oh that Elvis's "interest in gospel music" was truly "faith-based." And oh that his "respect for Christ" was more evident in a life that is described by secular historians as one of debauchery.

This promises to be an amazing film. We can't wait to see it, I hope it inspires those who still have a choice to make of which path to pursue, to follow THE WAY. Blessings.

How was Elvis inspiring? What about his life, other than some recordings, indicates he actually knew Jesus Christ as his Savior? I don't have the slightest idea if the man was a believer. There is ample evidence, however, that, if he was, he wasn't following the way he sang about.

Based on the way King David lived his life, we wouldn't think he would be in heaven either. Thankfully though, Salvation is by faith ALONE. I am glad that we do not have to stand before the self-righteous judges on this board at the Great White Throne, but only before a gracious God who will ask only if we placed our faith in His Son. I believe the record is clear that Elvis did that.

Anybody that sang with JD Sumner is alright in my book.

All I have to say is that I wished they picked someone different for this project. I am not casting stones at anyone in particular, other than the fact that I think someone acting in a christian movie should act alittle more christian and not pompus. Get my drift.

I don't think that Ryan Pelton is an elite choice for this project. Nuff said....wishing they would have picked another impersonator out of all the hundreds of thousands, this will do nothing but inflate an already inflated ego. This man gives Elvis a bad name!

I was surprised to read the last two posts about Ryan Pelton. I know him and he is one of the the most genuine and humble people I have met. He moves, sounds and looks like Elvis and puts on a great show. He will be a great asset to the movie, Identical and will work hard to make it exactly what the producers want.