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.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: