Monday, April 25, 2016

Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon & Me

ELVIS & NIXON is the name of their new movie.  A trim 90-minute comedy that takes place mostly in The White House, it's a "what if" movie based on the actual meeting of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon.  Michael Shannon is not an actor you'd think of right away to play the latter day rock 'n' roll superstar, but he's fascinating to watch.  He takes a different approach to playing Elvis Presley, different from what other actors have done, and he brings you something fresh.  Also, he's funny.  We don't often to get laugh when watching a Michael Shannon performance but, in this movie, we do.
As for Kevin Spacey, he's a pro at making us laugh while he's played intimidating bosses.  This performance is no exception.  He's a hoot as Richard Nixon.
One of the big stars of this project is someone we don't see.  This comedy could've easily become too broad, like a sketch on a TV comedy show.  But it doesn't.  There's always a sense of humanity and heartache in the situations of Elvis Presley and President Nixon.  You can connect to the characters in a real-life way.  I'd give a big round of applause to Liza Johnson, the director of ELVIS & NIXON.  Add her name to the list of Women In Film that Hollywood should recognize.
I interviewed Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey recently.  We talked their approach to playing two very famous American men who were at opposite ends of the popularity scale.  Also, Kevin Spacey tells me how a performance by Jack Lemmon in a Billy Wilder classic helped him win one of his two Oscars.  Before you play the interview, here's a short clip from ELVIS & NIXON.  The two men are making house notes.  One residence being The White House.

Here's my interview.  By the way, Michael Shannon opens on Broadway in LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT co-starring Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne on April 27th.

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