Five long years after the publication of Alanna Nash‘s “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley,” producers David Permut and David Binder have acquired the screen rights. But given the tragic slant of the story, it sounds HBO-ish to me.
The film will inevitably register as a downer of some kind, as any kind of honest translation of the book will basically be the story of a greedy Svengali‘s brilliant promotion of Presley (from the mid to late ’50s), followed by the slow ruination of his musical reputation and career (from the early ’60s onward) by cutting Presley off from the world (i.e., no European concert tours), turning him into a joke by putting him in those godawful ’60s movies, looking the other way at Presley’s drug dependency and basically grabbing all he could until Presley turned things around somewhat with that 1968 TV concert comeback show.
It’ll be, in short, a tragedy about how Parker went for the short-end money and all but killed the King’s career, but also about how Presley was a none-too-bright soft touch who let himself get pushed around by Parker, lacking the character to say “you’re fired” and not getting himself back into a semi-serious rock groove until it was almost too late.
Permut and Binder’s film will be called The Colonel. The role has Randy Quaid‘s name written all over it. Parker was in his mid ’40s when Elvis’s career began to take off; Quaid is in his late ’50s. Who else would be right or it? Somebody big and fat with a natural oozing-sleazeball quality.