In an article posted this morning here, Priscilla Presley and Jerry Schilling comment on the upcoming Elvis biopic being produced by Baz Luhrmann. If I am jumping the gun on this, so be it, but I do have a few questions.
Jerry Schilling: “I think he certainly asked all the right questions, as I will tell you – I mean, especially about the Colonel. Because that’s going to be very interesting with Tom Hanks, because Priscilla and I knew the Colonel.”
I’d be very interested to know what questions were asked about Parker and the portrayal of Parker, give that Schilling followed his comment with this:
“He’s [Parker’s] the easy-to-go-to bad guy. But he was actually quite a special guy. A good human being. There might have been differences, but they were creative.”
The debate surrounding Parker’s relationship with Elvis has been raging for decades, and pretty much every argument has been presented. Parker is evil, Parker was good but misunderstood, Elvis couldn’t have made it without Parker, Parker tried but could not accomplish certain things for Elvis, and the list goes on and on. But when we look at the fiduciary responsibilities with which Parker was entrusted, and at the financial decisions made by Parker, there cannot be two sides of the fence: Parker was an unethical con-man who took advantage of Elvis, and of the estate, and there can be no objective reading of the facts that reaches any other conclusion. Has Mr. Luhrmann read the 1981 Guardian Ad Litem report to get a clear picture of the things Parker was doing (and not doing) with Elvis’s career? Not sure where Schilling comes up with “creative differences,” but the problems with Parker (largely unknown at the time) ran far, far deeper, and were far more serious and consequential, than “creative” disagreements about, for example, Parker’s idea that the ’68 Comeback Special should be a Christmas show.
So, after reading the entire Ad Litem report, would anyone conclude that Parker was “a special guy” and “a good human being”? Other than Jerry Schilling…? Is this biopic an attempt to rehabilitate the person of Tom Parker, and the legacy of “The Colonel”?
UPDATE (12/14/19): Also, consider the following, regarding this “special guy” who merely had “creative” differences with Elvis:
Everyone should pay attention to the wording and the terms used in the passages above:
“Colonel Parker always discouraged audits”
“Colonel Parker again discouraged it”
“Kept Elvis under control”
“To keep the Co-Executors in line”
“RCA has denied the Estate’s request to audit.”