What Will We See or Not See in the New Elvis Biopic?


Photo via Warner Bros. Pictures

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Elvis (2022) is an upcoming biopic about Elvis Presley’s life, his rise to fame in the 1950s in the midst of many powerful Civil Rights Movements while navigating his complicated relationship with his manager, Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The full trailer was released on February 16, 2022, showing  Elvis being played by Austin Butler and where he got his inspiration for the music we hear today growing up listening to jazz, blues, and soul music. Austin Butler looks far from Elvis, but all of Elvis’s famous voice and lyrics are done by him. Butler is totally transformed into Elvis Presley, fake sideburns and all. The question on a lot of peoples’ minds, who have an inkling of how Elvis rose to fame, is how historically accurate will this biopic be? 

Elvis is one of the prime examples of numerous white artists taking music from Black artists and profiting from their hard work by changing a little bit different from the original. The song is one of his famous that got him on the map, “Hound Dog.” Big Mama Thorton was an R&B blues singer who recorded “Hound Dog” in 1953 three years prior to when Elvis serenaded a bloodhound with “Hound Dog” on live television. That later became a #1 hit on the record charts, but in his rendition, he changes certain lyrics. He rose further and further into rock and roll history with everyone knowing who Elvis Presley was, but what about Big Mama Thorton where was her praise? Where were her profits? They were nowhere to be seen. 

Now, in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. got more than 200,000 people to march to hear his “I Have a Dream ” speech to speak against segregation and prejudice the months following his death, it inspired a lot of people to stand up for those beliefs also, Elvis included. Presley, “He recorded the song “If I Can Dream” just two months after the murder, and the emotional intensity with which he delivers it still brings back the shock and grief that gripped America in the wake of King’s murder. Presley was just six years younger than King, and both were born and raised in the Deep South (King in Georgia and Elvis in Mississippi), where they were surrounded by institutionalized racism,” stated in The Conversation. Elvis wanted to use his musical influence to spread awareness about this important subject because it needed to be heard. 

In Us Magazine, the movie is supposed to follow Presley in his preteen years cluing the audience into how the love for rock and roll ever started. In the trailer, you see they included him performing his “If I Can Dream” song dedicated to MLK, but never touching on him profiting off of “Hound Dog.” What do you guys think, will this be another biopic that only shines everything positive about the artists or will it be different and show also the negative that all led to his fame in life and death?