The Dallas alum, 72, told Us Weekly exclusively about how she’s had a hands-on role in the Moulin Rouge director’s soon-to-be-released movie about her late ex-husband, who will be played by Austin Butler.
“I have been involved with Baz,” the Naked Gun actress told Us ahead of Graceland’s first annual Southern Style Weekend, which she will be hosting from September 27 to 29. “He has come to my home and he has been emailing me. In fact, we’re going to be having another lunch at my home. He’s keeping me on top of everything. It’s been wonderful. He is a genius.”
Though she’s had a small hand in Lurhmann’s film, Presley admits that the movie will still be a Hollywood version of her ex’s legacy.
“I’m not getting involved with any kind of telling him what to do or how to do it or suggestions,” she said. “No, no. I think this will be very stylized, very different.”
The Brooklyn native also revealed that the film will be more focused on Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager whom he had a contentious relationship with, rather than the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” singer himself. The actress also praised Tom Hanks, who will portray Colonel Parker in the movie.
“Tom Hanks can pretty much capture anybody as far as his acting ability and how professional he is and how deep and deeply involved he gets with the character,” she said. “I’m extremely pleased. I think that it’ll be very good.”
Though it’s been 42 years since Elvis’ death, Presley is still reminded of the rock star everyday, whether it’s from seeing his resemblance in her daughter and grandchildren or listening to his music in stores when she visits Memphis, Tennessee, where the “Suspicious Minds” singer grew up.
“He never really goes out of my mind,” she told Us. “I mean, having his grandchildren and my daughter, just looking at them, I already see little bits of him.”
She continued, “I’m still living somewhat the life in many ways. You know, it’s never really left me in any way. He was a very big part of my life from a very young age.”
While she felt pressure to keep Elvis’ legacy alive soon after his death, Presley admits that she’s not worried about his memory disappearing anytime soon after seeing how many sold-out shows his music still fills. Since his death, the actress has toured with orchestras across the world, who perform her late husband’s songs.
“I don’t know of any other entertainer 40 years after their passing [who is] still filling arenas. He’s still filling the venues. It’s just so beautiful, so touching,” she said. “He’s still here. It’s as if he’s still putting on the show and [the fans] are still there cheering him on. So it’s very inspiring and very sad in that way that, you know, wishing that his presence was still with us.”
As for her favorite Elvis song, Presley said it depends on her mood.
“I have so many songs, and there are so many personal songs and so many songs which I ended up being in the studio with, [from] “Kentucky Rain” to “In the Ghetto,” she said. “I have great, great memories of all of that. So it’s hard for me to just pick one song with being involved with his music so much.”
The “Jailhouse Rock” artist and Melrose Place alum wed in May 1967. The couple — who welcomed daughter Lisa Marie Presley in 1968 — divorced in October 1973 after six years of marriage. The Spin City actress also shares son Naverone, 32, with businessman Marco Garibaldi.
Elvis passed away of a heart attack on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
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