The legendary lifetime of Elvis Presley will get a delightfully weird animated adaptation with the Netflix unique sequence, Agent Elvis. The extremely fictionalized present begins in 1968 and envisions a world the place Elvis moonlights as a vigilante, catching the eye of The Central Bureau, a mysterious spy group. Elvis begins to work with TCB, finishing top-secret missions whereas uncovering a conspiracy that stretches again to his days within the Military. Assume Archer meets Elvis, which is sensible, contemplating this system hails from showrunner Mike Arnold, greatest identified for his work on the FX community’s acclaimed spy comedy.
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Agent Elvis stars Matthew McConaughey as Elvis, using a variation of his pure Southern drawl as an alternative of a kitschy impersonation. The remainder of the forged contains heavy hitters like Don Cheadle, Kaitlin Olsen, Ed Helms, and quite a few others, with even Priscilla Presley taking part in herself, to nice impact. The final word result’s a raunchy and raucous present that is stuffed with deep-cut jokes for Elvis followers, in addition to sufficient broad humor and beautiful animation to fulfill a variety of audiences, all whereas paying tribute to the expertise, swagger, and idiosyncrasies of Elvis.
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Whereas selling the discharge of Agent Elvis on Netflix, co-creator and co-showrunner John Eddie joined showrunner Mike Arnold to talk to Display Rant about their work on the present. They talked about how essential it was to honor Elvis with out counting on low cost humor at his expense. In addition they mentioned their method to storytelling, creating historic fiction by drawing on real-life Elvis historical past and world occasions, all filtered by the audacious sensibilities of Agent Elvis.
Mike Arnold & John Eddie on the Delightfully Outrageous Agent Elvis
Display Rant: I am an enormous Elvis fan. And with my job, I made a decision I wanted to know if Agent Elvis was a loving tribute to the best artists of all time or a skewering of this man who I genuinely love a lot. After watching the entire season, I can say I am very happy with the end result. You guys made a beautiful present!
Mike Arnold: That is superior, man!
John Eddie: That is so good to listen to, as a result of yeah, our intention was to respect and honor the cool of Elvis, but in addition to push the envelope and make a really cool and rock and rolling present, too.
Display Rant: Inform me about your relationship working with Priscilla. How did you get her to belief you, that you simply had been going to “have enjoyable with Elvis” and never “make enjoyable of Elvis?”
John Eddie: I am, in all probability such as you, a lifelong Elvis fan. I am a musician and a songwriter. I first met Priscilla as a result of I did two excursions opening up for Lisa Marie when she had her first couple of albums out. I acquired to be buddies with Lisa Marie and Priscilla.
Over time, after I would come out to L.A., Priscilla and I’d exit to dinner and we simply had a extremely inventive friendship. We might discuss all types of concepts. In 2012, I introduced this concept to her that was impressed by the well-known picture of Elvis and Richard Nixon, the place Elvis is providing his companies as a DEA agent going undercover to battle the evil forces of the counter tradition.
And that was the germ of the concept. However the best way I pitched it to her, and since I am such an enormous Elvis fan, I’ve seen each film about Elvis, each TV sequence, and each time, regardless of how nice the actor is who depicted Elvis, you by no means acquired previous the truth that they did not appear to be Elvis. You by no means acquired previous the truth that they weren’t Elvis. That is why I pitched it as an animated sequence. I believed that was possibly the closest approach to get previous that hesitation. I like Kurt Russell, I believed he was among the finest Elvis actors ever, up till this previous yr, Austin Butler’s portrayal was so nice, too. However nonetheless, you go, “Yeah, they’re nice, however they don’t seem to be Elvis.”
I believed that if it was animated, possibly we might seize it. As a result of we constructed this friendship up, and he or she knew what a fan I used to be and the way respectful I used to be to the entire concept of Elvis. I am a real fan of his. The truth is, that was certainly one of our overriding targets: Elvis all the time must be cool on our present. We do not go for a budget Elvis joke. We do not go for the, “Oh, he is consuming a peanut butter and bacon sandwich” humor. We actually tried to present it a brand new spin and hold it respectful.
Display Rant: I actually appreciated that there have been no jokes about Elvis’ horrific snack selections.
John Eddie: Yeah, there’s none of that. There is not any “thanks very a lot.” And Mike can converse to Matthew approaching board; we actually weren’t searching for an Elvis imitation.
Display Rant: Inform me about getting Matthew, as a result of he isn’t even making an attempt to do an Elvis voice, however that is in all probability for one of the best!
Mike Arnold: It was actually certainly one of our targets. At its core, on the heart of our present can be an Elvis that was all the time cool. Being Elvis comes with being cool. And Matthew is past good as a result of he has that easy swagger that is simply cool by itself! Bringing Matthew’s sensibilities, his capabilities, his confidence, his swagger, after which him discovering that voice… He labored actually exhausting to search out, and to carry to life, what he known as “the music of Elvis’ voice.” To carry that to life culminated in such a novel portrayal of Elvis that simply felt proper. You are watching it, and also you overlook you are listening to Matthew as a result of the match simply feels so good. It actually helped us put the present collectively that we wished to do.
Display Rant: His voice evokes Elvis at his most uncooked, stuff like Flaming Star and King Creole, the place he was actually performing and never simply performing like he would on stage.
John Eddie: It is nice that you simply picked these films, that is so cool. Yeah, completely.
Display Rant: I am one thing of a musician. I play drums and might carry a tune, however certainly one of my musical heroes is Ronnie Tutt, and I used to be shocked that he voiced himself in an episode!
John Eddie: That is actually Ronnie performing! It was the very last thing he did earlier than he handed. The present follows a Forrest Gump-style timeline. Something that occurs on the earth, Elvis is by some means concerned in it. However we had been additionally very conscious of the place Elvis was at that time in his profession. The 68′ Particular period of Elvis might be essentially the most heroic wanting Elvis there’s. He is sporting the black leather-based outfit, he began sporting the jumpsuits with the capes, it is actually the place he was embracing his karate and his concept of turning into a brilliant hero. We felt that was when he was at his peak of magnificence, and funky, and appears, and badass-ness. In order that’s why we began in ’68 and transfer to the early 70s in Season 1.
Display Rant: I undoubtedly recognize what the present does, and what the film did final yr, in shining a lightweight on the early 70s specifically, like his first residency on the Worldwide Lodge. It is good to see this specific period of Elvis getting its due.
Mike Arnold: As John stated, it was an period that was enjoyable to sort out. It has so many moments in historical past that everyone knows. It gave us a number of storytelling alternatives, whether or not it’ll Vegas, or the moon touchdown, or going to the White Home, or the primary satellite tv for pc broadcast live performance ever, Aloha from Hawaii. We wished to take all of these very actual moments that Elvis followers know, however others could not know, and make them into our personal. That is one of many targets we got down to accomplish.
John Eddie: We had such an enormous sandbox to play in. We had Elvis’ world, the place he was at the moment, however then no matter was occurring in historical past and popular culture. And as an enormous Elvis fan, there’s… Within the first episode, with Charles Manson, Elvis was actually on Manson’s Kill Listing. We used that as a springboard for our story. Elvis actually did have a monkey. (Laughs) A chimpanzee. Priscilla will right me. It is a chimp, it is offensive to name them monkeys. However we, to Mike’s level, turned him right into a coke-snorting, weapons professional, ex-NASA chimp. We based mostly all the pieces, as a lot as we might, in the true world of Elvis, and in the true world of what was occurring in historical past, after which turned all the pieces on its head to carry it into the world of Agent Elvis.
Display Rant: Inform me about this superb forged you assembled. Did it’s a must to persuade Priscilla to play herself, or was she all the time sport to play?
Mike Arnold: It was bizarre. After we first began engaged on the present, in our unique pitch, it begins right here, however goes previous the time of Elvis’ demise. There was going to be much less interplay with Priscilla. However once we began writing the scripts and requested her, “Hey, would you need to…” Regardless that she was a creator and so concerned, I nonetheless needed to go to her and say, “Would you be into this?” The episode I wrote is predicated on when Elvis and Priscilla took LSD at Graceland. That is an actual factor that they did. It is in her e book. And she or he’s undoubtedly a presence all through the season.
John Eddie: We had been wildly lucky with the forged, from Priscilla onto everybody else. We had been lucky sufficient to get Matthew. Then, we had been simply swinging for the fences each time. We by no means thought we might get Don Cheadle to do that, the identical method we by no means thought we’d get Matthew! However fortunately, we did, and Kaitlin Olsen, and Johnny Knoxville, and Niecy Nash, and Ed Helms, and Jason Mantzoukas and Kieran Culkin, and Christina Hendricks! The listing simply went on and on.
All people that we had been lucky sufficient to work with is simply so achieved, not simply as an actor, however they understood the comedy we had been making an attempt to do. We had been all the time amazed at how we’d get them into the sales space and all the pieces would change into elevated. It was higher than we ever thought it may very well be, and that is due to the outstanding forged we’ve got.
Mike Arnold: I believe Priscilla’s willingness to painting herself escalated as soon as Matthew got here on as Elvis. I believe she actually appeared ahead to the concept of performing throughout from Matthew. I believe a number of the forged, as soon as Matthew got here on and there is that DNA of ‘cool’ that Matthew and Elvis each have, and with the craziness and edginess of the challenge, it attracted individuals who wished to be within the orbit of Matthew and Elvis. I believe it simply lends itself to such a cool forged and enjoyable time. I do know Priscilla was over the moon when Matthew got here on board as Elvis.
About Agent Elvis
Elvis Presley trades in his jumpsuit for a jet pack when he’s covertly inducted right into a secret authorities spy program to battle the darkish forces that threaten the nation he loves – all whereas holding down his day job because the King Of Rock And Roll.
The sequence is the primary grownup animated challenge from Sony Footage Animation, the studio behind “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and is produced in partnership with Genuine Manufacturers Group and Titmouse. Elvis Presley’s iconic look is being introduced into animation with the assistance of Academy Award® nominee Robert Valley and Agent Elvis’ wardrobe is designed by legendary designer John Varvatos.
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Agent Elvis is on the market to stream now on Netflix.