“Boscutti’s Elvis Presley”

Boscutti Elvis Presley screenplay

Walk a thousand miles in Elvis’ shoes.

It’s 1970. It’s Christmas. And Elvis Presley is jack of it. He’s had enough of the songs, the fans, the girls, the guys, everything.

He flees Graceland on a wild, manic quest to meet President Nixon before Colonel Parker can haul his ass back to Memphis. The King wants to score a Federal Drug Agent’s badge. The President of America is the only man who can get it for him. Based on an amazing true story.

Official White House photos of Elvis meeting Nixon on December 21, 1970 are the most requested items at the National Archives. (More requested than the Bill of Rights or even the Constitution of the United States.)

“Boscutti’s Elvis Presley” is a truly spirited rock’n’roll screenplay. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Will Elvis convince Nixon to give him what he needs?

★★★★

‘The image is one thing and the human being is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image, put it that way.’ Elvis Presley

‘Intimate portrait of the king of rock’n’roll with much humor, gossip and adulation. Judicious and delightfully addictive.’ Mary Turpin

‘Boscutti untangles the soul of man in a wild, riveting and sharply written screenplay. I didn’t want it to stop.’ Henry Ballard

‘Often poignant psychological profile of a true rock’n’roll visionary. You’ve never seen Elvis like this.’ Fay Scott

‘You don’t need to be an Elvis fan to love the man. He was the embodiment of the American dream. I wrote this biopic to find out what drove a boy from Tupelo, Mississippi, to become Elvis Presley. What drove a man to become a king. I want to show you a side of Elvis only a handful of people ever saw. I want you to see the true Elvis.’ Stefano Boscutti

“Boscutti’s Elvis Presley” (Screenplay) was a finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest. Features improved screenplay format to make it easier and more enjoyable for you to read.

ISBN 9780980712551 / 20,000 words / 80 minutes of rock’n’roll reading pleasure

 
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“BOSCUTTI’S ELVIS PRESLEY” (FREE EXCERPT)

 
Fade up sounds of BLACK VOICES working cotton fields as they sing out Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s two-beat gospel hymn ‘Up Above My Head.’

 
FADE IN:

 
TUPELO – COTTON FIELDS – DAY (1937)

High summer sun streaks down through perfect white clouds.

INFANT ELVIS, 2, lays back on a bed of pure white cotton flowers and looks up into the sun with his pristine blue eyes. His mother’s voice rolls over him as white cotton flowers flutter down like tufts of clouds.

GLADYS PRESLEY (O.S.)
You got the destiny to do great things. You is living for two people. You have the power of two people inside you.

GLADYS PRESLEY, 25, picks cotton under the bright sun.

Along with the other FIELD WORKERS, she drags behind her a large burlap tow sack she fills with cotton flowers. On top rests her young son.

GLADYS PRESLEY
Elvis, you is real, real special ’cause when God took your twin brother into heaven, you took over. You took over his soul and you took over his spirit.

Infant Elvis looks at his mother.

GLADYS PRESLEY
One day we’ll all be back together again.

Rows of cotton bushes taper back either side of Infant Elvis.

GLADYS PRESLEY (O.S.)
But on this Earth you is real, real special ’cause you is special as two people, not just one.

Infant Elvis looks up into the dazzling sun.

GLADYS PRESLEY (O.S.)
God chose you. You is the chosen one, Elvis.

Blinding sun flares in.

Sounds of distant record player spinning Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas.’

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – DAY (1970)

Winter sun flares out under brooding clouds.

Elvis’ home is festooned with Christmas decorations left, right and center. Santas and reindeers and sleds and candles. Two interlocking wreaths of holly hang off the front double doors. Sounds of record player spinning Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ from inside.

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
Christ, son, Thirty-eight thousand dollars in one month! Thirty-eight thousand dollars for guns!

ELVIS (O.S.)
Daddy, you know I got damn death threats hanging over my head.

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
You let the guys worry about that!

ELVIS (O.S.)
Daddy, get off my damn case!

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
Jesus, that’s what they is paid for!

ELVIS (O.S.)
Daddy, I damn well mean it.

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
That’s why they is your damn bodyguards!

ELVIS (O.S.)
Daddy, I ain’t going to tell you again, goddamnit.

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
Not to mention you bought a bunch of guns you ain’t even allowed to have!

ELVIS (O.S.)
Maybe one or two.

VERNON PRESLEY (O.S.)
Seven! Elvis, you bought seven machine guns, that is damn illegal!

ELVIS (O.S.)
So! So! I got a badge!

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – UPSTAIRS HALLWAY – DAY

VERNON PRESLEY, 54, limply holds a receipt in his hand.

VERNON PRESLEY
Son, you ain’t got no police badge for no machine guns.

ELVIS PRESLEY, 35, storms into his bedroom.

ELVIS
Goddamnit, Daddy, whose side is you on anyway?

VERNON PRESLEY
Just you wait until The Colonel hears about this.

Elvis stops dead in his tracks, spins on his heels.

ELVIS
Fuck The Colonel! Fuck it! Tear up the goddamn contract for all I care! Rip it to kingdom come! I don’t need no one telling me what I can and cannot do!! I don’t need no one telling me nothing no more!

Elvis slams his bedroom door shut.

VERNON PRESLEY
Jesus Christ, why you got to be such a goddamn selfish sumbitch?

Elvis tears the door open.

ELVIS
What the fuck did you call me?

VERNON PRESLEY
Jesus, Elvis, calm down.

ELVIS
I swear, you bad-mouth Mama one more time, I am going to outright kill you. I don’t care how illegal it is.

Elvis slams the door again and immediately opens it again.

ELVIS
Cancel the damn shows! It’s over!!

VERNON PRESLEY
Elvis –

ELVIS
Don’t you ‘Elvis’ me!

Elvis slams the door real hard.

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – ELVIS’ BEDROOM – DAY

Elvis rifles through his wardrobe until he finds his favorite makeup case. Flips it open and empties the contents onto the king-size bed.

Elvis drags out drawers full of handguns and prescription drugs and spiritual books and police badges and empties them on top of what’s already sprawled on the bed.

Elvis chews his fingernails as he decides what to pack.

Elvis picks out a dozen police badges and tosses them into his makeup case. Tosses in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven vials of pills. Tosses in a bunch of ammo. Tosses in two books.

Elvis can’t close the lid on his makeup case. Throws out the books. About to close the lid again when he spots the framed black and white photo of his dead mother, Gladys Presley, on his bedside table. He gently picks it up and lovingly places it inside his makeup case and carefully snaps the lid closed.

Elvis picks up a gold-plated .45 handgun and wedges it into the back of his pants.

Elvis picks up his makeup case, opens the door and surveys the room before leaving. Spots his copy of the bible.

Elvis blinks.

Elvis picks up the bible and storms out.

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – STAIRCASE – DAY

Elvis storms down the staircase. Vernon ambles to the landing.

VERNON PRESLEY
Where the hell you reckon you’re going!?

Elvis storms off.

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – DOWNSTAIRS HALLWAY – DAY

Elvis stops and looks into the music room brimming with Christmas decorations. A record player is spinning Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ to one side of the gold grand piano.

Elvis sneers and hurls his bible across the room into the record player, gouging the needle across the vinyl.

 
MEMPHIS – GRACELAND – FRONT DRIVEWAY – DAY

Elvis storms out and slams the front door behind him.

Both wreaths of holly shudder and fall to the ground.

A white dove flaps away.

Elvis whips open the driver’s door of his brand new red Pantera, flings his makeup case onto the passenger seat, jumps in and quickly turns the key. Engine whirrs.

Elvis turns the key harder. Engine whirrs and sputters.

Elvis leaps out of the Pantera, whisks out his gold-plated handgun from the back of his pants and slams five rounds straight through the hood.

Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!

Pantera’s engine coughs and sputters and roars to life.

Elvis hops in and screeches off.

Front doors fly open and two overweight bodyguards – RED WEST, 35, and LARDASS, 33 – rush out. Both trip over the wreaths of holly and sprawl over the steps. Lardass loses the hamburger he was munching on.

More startled BODYGUARDS rush out. Red West whistles over two black Lincoln limousines. All the Bodyguards squeeze into the limousines. All doors slam shut.

One rear door opens as COUSIN PEEWEE, 21, shuffles in, holding his Superman comic in one hand and a hotdog in the other. Door slams shut and limousines snake off down the driveway.

Vernon steps out of the open front doors. He picks up one of the wreaths of holly and brushes it down as he looks down the driveway.

 
MEMPHIS – AIRPORT – DEPARTURE TERMINAL – DAY

Elvis’ brand new red Pantera is askew with one front wheel on the sidewalk and one in the gutter. Engine is wheezing and the driver’s door is open.

CURIOUS CROWD cautiously approaches the lopsided car, trying to peer in.

Two black Lincoln limousines screech to a stop nearby.

Red is first out and moves to the car. Other Bodyguards tag behind him, fearing the worst.

LARDASS
Maybe E’s dead?

RED
Shut up, Lardass.

COUSIN PEEWEE
Maybe E’s brains is mashed up all over the windscreen?

RED
Cousin Peewee, shut the fuck up.

COUSIN PEEWEE
Maybe the kryptonite got him? Kryptonite can do that, Red.

RED
Cousin Peewee, how come you got to be the fucking family retard all the time?

COUSIN PEEWEE
What retard, Red?

RED
Cousin Peewee, when the Good Lord was handing out brains you weren’t even standing in line, were you?

COUSIN PEEWEE
What line, Red?

Red gets to the brand new Pantera first and peers in the driver’s side. It’s empty.

RED
Shit!

Red punches the Pantera’s roof.

Sounds of American Airlines 707 taking off.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FIRST CLASS CABIN – DAY

Elvis sits in the first seat, his face hidden behind a copy of the Washington Post. Lead story on the front page is headlined NIXON BLAMES DRUGS FOR ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT RIOTS.

SLIM HOSTESS, 21, leans in.

SLIM HOSTESS
Pardon me, Mr. Presley, but is there anything I can get you before our stopover in Dallas?

Elvis lowers the newspaper. His right heel is nervously tapping along to some mysterious beat only he can hear.

Elvis looks the Slim Hostess up and down through his dark trademark sunglasses. He smiles.

SLIM HOSTESS
Anything at all?

Elvis glances out the window at fleeting clouds. He turns back without noticing a face forming in the passing clouds.

ELVIS
Diet Pepsi, please, Miss.

SLIM HOSTESS
I’m afraid we don’t serve Pepsi on this flight, Mr. Presley. Perhaps a fresh orange juice?

ELVIS
No, thank you, Miss. I am on a diet.

SLIM HOSTESS
Me too.

ELVIS
At your age?

SLIM HOSTESS
We all have to start some time.

ELVIS
Miss, can I ask you a personal question?

Slim Hostess nods a smile.

ELVIS
How can I get to speak with the Captain, you know, personally?

Slim Hostess blinks.

SLIM HOSTESS
One moment, Mr. Presley.

Slim Hostess heads off to the flight deck. Elvis puts his copy of the Washington Post on top of his handgun on top of his makeup case on the seat next to him. He drums his fingers on the armrest.

Slim Hostess opens the door to the flight deck and curls her forefinger to beckon Elvis inside.

Elvis heads to the flight deck.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FLIGHT DECK – DAY

Elvis steps in. UNIFORMED CAPTAIN, 57, triggers the autopilot.

CAPTAIN
Mr. Presley, it is indeed an honor.

I have always wanted to meet you.

Captain juts out his right hand. Elvis looks at it strangely until he realizes the Captain wants to shake hands. Elvis shakes eagerly.

UNIFORMED COPILOT, 47, stretches out his hand and Elvis shakes it too.

COPILOT
Heck, I’ve always wanted to be you.

ELVIS
Hell, everyone wants to be Elvis Presley. Even I want to be Elvis Presley.

CAPTAIN
Let me assure you, Mr. Presley, I have listened to every one of your records.

COPILOT
And I’ve bought every one of your records.

Elvis blushes.

COPILOT
Twice.

ELVIS
Thank you, thank you, very –

Elvis spots the joystick and other controls moving magically by themselves.

ELVIS
Excuse me, sir, I don’t want to be rude or nothing here, but who’s actually flying this damn plane?

CAPTAIN
Relax, Mr. Presley, it’s on autopilot.

ELVIS
Damned if that ain’t the story of my life.

Captain stands and offers his seat to Elvis.

CAPTAIN
You want to fly, Mr. Presley?

ELVIS
Call me Elvis, sir.

Elvis sits in the Captain’s seat. He takes off his sunglasses.

CAPTAIN
Soon as you grab the stick, she’s in your hands.

Elvis gently handles the joystick, looking out onto a sea of endless white clouds and a sun suspended on the horizon. American Airlines 707 rises softly.

CAPTAIN
She’s all yours now.

American Airlines 707 rises higher.

ELVIS
Any way I can get her to go any faster?

Captain looks at the Copilot.

CAPTAIN
We’re making good time, Mr. Presley.

Elvis sits on the edge of the Captain’s seat.

ELVIS
Sir, I am in a real hurry to get to Los Angeles. Official police business, you understand. And I was wondering whether there was any way to make better time. Maybe skip the stopover in Dallas and fly straight through.

CAPTAIN
But what about the passengers who –

ELVIS
I’ll pay for any connecting flights for those other folk.

CAPTAIN
Mr. Presley. We can’t –

ELVIS
What did I do wrong?

CAPTAIN
You haven’t done anything wrong, Mr. Presley, it’s just –

ELVIS
Then why can’t I fly straight through?

Copilot taps the fuel gauge.

COPILOT
Because we need to refuel, Mr. Presley, or else we’re going to fall out of the sky.

Elvis looks out at the clouds.

Sounds of telephone ringing.

 
DALLAS – DALLAS AIRPORT – FIRST CLASS LOUNGE – NIGHT

Cloud pattern on the wallpaper. Elvis is on the phone, waiting for his call to be answered.

TWIN RECEPTIONISTS stare at him from the front desk.

Elvis smiles and waves at the Twin Receptionists.

Twin Receptionists smile and wave back in unison.

Elvis reaches into his makeup case and takes out a jewel-encrusted Memphis deputy badge.

Split screen as phone is answered:

LOS ANGELES – PARAMOUNT STUDIO – EDIT SUITE – NIGHT

JERRY SCHILLING, 35, edits 35mm images of a high-noon gunfight between two lean gunslingers unspooling on his Steenbeck.

JERRY
Yeah, it’s Jerry.

ELVIS
Working on the Sabbath, boy? Working for the devil?

JERRY
Who the hell is this?

ELVIS
It’s E, you sonofabitch!

JERRY
Horse shit.

ELVIS
You calling me a liar, boy?

JERRY
Rex, if those other reels aren’t here in two minutes I swear to God I’m –

ELVIS
It’s E, I tell you. Don’t you recognize my own damn voice? What’s the matter with you?

JERRY
Prove it.

Elvis looks over his Memphis deputy badge encrusted with rubies and diamonds.

ELVIS
When your cousin was sheriff of Memphis I got him to put me on the force and give me a police badge, the real thing.

Jerry stops editing. Gunslingers freeze between frames.

ELVIS
‘Cept it looked like shit so I had to get it jeweled up some.

JERRY
Oh Jesus, it is you.

ELVIS
One in the same, Jerry.

JERRY
So what’s up, E?

ELVIS
Some business I got to take care of. Police business. Can’t talk about it over the phone. But I need your help, Jerry.

JERRY
Name it, man.

ELVIS
Pick me up at LAX in two hours.

Full screen as Elvis puts down the receiver. He tosses his Memphis deputy badge into his makeup case, snaps the lid shut, picks up his handgun and strides out of the lounge like some gunslinger from hell. Or Vegas. (Or probably both.)

Twin Receptionists watch him leave in unison. They giggle in unison.

 
DALLAS – DALLAS AIRPORT – ON RAMP – NIGHT

Elvis strides up to the waiting American Airlines 707, makeup case in one hand and handgun in the other.

SENIOR STEWARD, 47, immediately spots the handgun and puts his hand out to stop Elvis from boarding.

Elvis looks down at the man’s hand on his heart.

SENIOR STEWARD
Mr. Presley, I’m afraid you cannot board this aeroplane with that handgun.

ELVIS
It’s cool. It’s loaded.

SENIOR STEWARD
Mr. Presley, Federal Airline regulations forbid the carrying of any weapon, loaded or unloaded, on any commercial flight.

ELVIS
But it’s mine.

SENIOR STEWARD
Mr. Presley, please consider the safety of other –

ELVIS
I am traveling on official police business, damn it.

Elvis snaps open his makeup case and pulls out a police badge.

Senior Steward shakes his head.

Elvis pulls out another badge.

SENIOR STEWARD
Mr. Presley, I’m afraid –

ELVIS
But I flew the first leg with it. So why we got a problem now?

SENIOR STEWARD
Mr. Presley, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to disembark this –

ELVIS
Disembark my ass!

Elvis storms back down the gate. Captain rushes past Senior Steward and calls out after Elvis.

CAPTAIN
Mr. Presley! Mr. Presley!!

Elvis disappears around a bend in the gate.

Captain disappears after Elvis.

Sounds of footsteps fading away.

Sounds of air conditioning breezing through the empty gate.

Sounds of footsteps fading in as Elvis returns with his arm around the Captain’s shoulders.

CAPTAIN
No, no, no, it’s fine, Mr. Presley. You don’t need any police badges.

Both stride aboard.

SENIOR STEWARD
But –

Elvis holds up his handgun.

ELVIS
But I’ll cock the safety if it makes you feel any better.

Captain heads off to the flight deck.

CAPTAIN
Let’s fly.

ELVIS
Yeah, let’s fly.

Sounds of 707 taking off.

 
SKY – NIGHT

American Airlines 707 flies into shimmering stars.

Sounds of domestic and international jets taking off and landing and taxiing at Los Angeles Airport.

 
LOS ANGELES – LOS ANGELES AIRPORT – GATE 1 – NIGHT

Jerry Schilling waits outside the gate. Elvis is first off the plane. He puts down his makeup case and greets Jerry with open arms.

ELVIS
Man, what’s happening?

Elvis hugs him. Jerry looks around, confused.

JERRY
Man, where’s The Colonel?

ELVIS
Who cares?

JERRY
And where are the guys at, E?

ELVIS
Probably back in Memphis, Jerry. At least I think they is back in Memphis.

JERRY
What do you mean, E?

ELVIS
I can’t say for sure ’cause they ain’t with me now, is they?

JERRY
Shit, E, I’ve never seen you without the guys. I mean, I have never ever seen you without the guys.

ELVIS
No one’s ever seen me like this.

Elvis looks around, getting his bearings. He catches part of his reflection on a mirrored column.

ELVIS
Hell, I ain’t even seen me like this.

JERRY
So how you doing, man?

ELVIS
I need your help, Jerry.

JERRY
Where’s your luggage, E?

Elvis picks up his makeup case.

ELVIS
I packed light.

Elvis and Jerry walk off as other PASSENGERS start streaming off the plane.

ELVIS
Jerry, I can’t do it without you, man. You got to help me.

JERRY
What? What is it?

Elvis looks around.

ELVIS
Can’t tell you here, man.

JERRY
Where?

ELVIS
You on my side, Jerry?

JERRY
Always, E.

ELVIS
Let’s drive.

 
LOS ANGELES – HILLCREST – ELVIS’ ESTATE – NIGHT

Elvis roams around the large living room with an open bottle of Diet Pepsi in hand. He opens and closes cupboards frantically, trying to find something.

JERRY
Look, E, I love you, man. But I cannot go to Washington with you.

Elvis keeps searching high and low.

JERRY
Man, if I don’t finish cutting this film by the twenty-fifth, Paramount’s going to have my gonads for Christmas dinner.

Elvis opens another cupboard.

JERRY
Paramount’s going to have my gonads for eggnog, man.

ELVIS
Come on, I’ll fly you back by private jet. So you can get back quicker.

JERRY
But, E, how’s a private jet going to get me back any faster? A jet’s a jet, man.

Elvis keeps searching.

JERRY
And anyway, you still haven’t told me why the hell you even want me to go with you to shithole Washington?

ELVIS
You got to come with me. Man, I can’t do it without you.

JERRY
Elvis, what can’t you do without me?

Elvis finally finds what he’s looking for.

ELVIS
My lucky glass!

Elvis fills his favorite star glass with Diet Pepsi.

JERRY
Elvis, why do you want me to go with you to fucking Washington?

ELVIS
All right, all right. But you swear you ain’t going to tell no one?

JERRY
Yeah.

ELVIS
Swear on your honor?

JERRY
I swear.

ELVIS
Swear on your life?

JERRY
I swear, I swear. Shit, E, just tell me why and I might just come with you.

Elvis swallows a mouthful of Diet Pepsi.

ELVIS
I have to meet the President.

JERRY
What the fuck is the president of RCA Records doing in Washington?

Jerry slugs a mouthful of Diet Pepsi straight from the bottle.

ELVIS
The President of the United States of America.

Jerry spurts out his mouthful in shock.

ELVIS
Got to get me a badge.

JERRY
Elvis, you got police badges coming out your ass.

ELVIS
But I need me the real, real thing. I need me a federal badge, man. Thinking of touring Europe on my own. Can’t leave home without it, know what I mean?

Elvis opens the glass sliding door and steps out to the backyard.

JERRY
Man, you got to be crazy.

Jerry follows Elvis out.

ELVIS
Man, I was born crazy.

JERRY
No, I mean it. You should be locked up. Federal badge? You need a federal fucking facility, man.

Elvis walks towards the empty swimming pool.

ELVIS
Come on, Jerry, you helped me get the deputy badge from your cousin.

JERRY
Yeah, but in case you didn’t know, I’m not actually related to Richard Nixon. Shit, I didn’t even vote for him.

ELVIS
No problem. I never voted ever.

JERRY
But, Elvis, it’s the President of America.

ELVIS
That’s cool. I’ll do the talking.

JERRY
You’re sassing me.

ELVIS
I ain’t never sassed no one.

JERRY
The President?

Elvis walks out on the diving board over his empty pool.

ELVIS
You only pass through this life once, Jack. You don’t come back for no encore.

JERRY
The President of America? Elvis, that’s got to be impossible.

ELVIS
Nothing’s impossible, Jerry. Only thinking makes it so.

JERRY
You really want me to come.

ELVIS
Man, I can’t do it alone. And I ain’t going to be here long.

JERRY
What’s that?

ELVIS
I been doing this almost half my life and I feel a million years old already. I am scared I’ll go out like a light, just like I came on.

Elvis looks up to the Milky Way smudged across the night sky.

JERRY
Shit, Elvis, you really should have been an actor.

ELVIS
Hell, I been acting my whole life.

Elvis turns to Jerry.

ELVIS
But I always wanted to direct my own movies myself. It’s about time I started, don’t you think?

Elvis smirks.

JERRY
Washington?

ELVIS
Washington DC.

JERRY
President?

ELVIS
President Richard Nixon.

Jerry smirks.

JERRY
So are we going to catch the next flight out of here or just keep on rehearsing?

Elvis flashes his American Express Platinum credit card out of his pocket.

ELVIS
Let’s rock.

Elvis looks up into the star-spangled night sky.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FIRST CLASS CABIN – NIGHT

Stars shimmer like jewels.

ELVIS (O.C.)
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

Elvis peers out the window from the first seat. Murmurs to himself.

ELVIS
How I wonder, how I wonder who you are?

Elvis’ makeup case sits between him and Jerry.

Jerry’s face is hidden behind a copy of the New York Times. Lead story on the front page is headlined NIXON DECLARES WAR ON DRUGS.

Gold Christmas decorations are strung up about the cabin.

Elvis stands up and drifts down the aisle. Few PASSENGERS still awake nod acknowledgement. Elvis spots a PREPPY SOLDIER, 22, in uniform, with two wrapped Christmas presents on his lap.

ELVIS
Vietnam, son?

PREPPY SOLDIER
Yes, sir.

ELVIS
Hell, don’t call me sir.

PREPPY SOLDIER
Back home for Christmas, sir.

ELVIS
Got me a second cousin in Vietnam. Helicopter pilot. Good looking boy. Damn ugly war.

PREPPY SOLDIER
Yes, sir.

Elvis steps back to Jerry. He leans down and whispers in his ear.

ELVIS
Jerry, man, give me some money.

JERRY
What?

Elvis snaps his fingers impatiently.

Jerry pulls out his wallet, fishes out $500 and hands it to Elvis.

JERRY
That’s all the cash I’ve got.

Elvis takes it.

ELVIS
That’s all the cash I need.

Elvis steps back to the Preppy Soldier and hands him the $500.

ELVIS
Merry Christmas, son.

Preppy Soldier awkwardly takes the cash. Elvis wanders off. Jerry steps out of his seat and catches up to Elvis at the curtains separating first class from economy.

Elvis parts the curtains.

JERRY
You going to be all right?

ELVIS
What am I going to do? Jump out of the damn plane?

Elvis steps into economy.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – ECONOMY CABIN – NIGHT

Curtains close behind Elvis.

Green Christmas decorations are stretched about the packed cabin. All PASSENGERS are sleeping except one in the rear of the plane lit by an overhead cone of light.

Elvis wanders towards the light.

SENATOR GEORGE MURPHY, 55, is busy proofing a letter.

He looks up to see Elvis looking down at him.

Senator beams.

SENATOR
Why, Mr. Presley. Allow me to introduce myself.

Senator takes Elvis’ right hand in both of his and shakes and shakes and shakes.

SENATOR
California Senator George Murphy. It is a supreme pleasure to meet you, Mr. Presley.

ELVIS
Oh no, pleasure’s all mine, sir.

SENATOR
You are too kind.

ELVIS
Senator Murphy –

SENATOR
Call me G.O.

Elvis looks down at his hand still sandwiched in the Senator’s grip. Both Senator’s cupped hands immediately spring open to release Elvis’ hand.

SENATOR
It has been my privilege to serve the good people of California for almost a decade now. Good people like you, Mr. Presley. Did you know the entertainment industry is now the third biggest contributor to the economy, after defense and aerospace?

ELVIS
I did not know that.

SENATOR
It is my job. Hell, it is my duty to look after that interest, to make that interest grow, to secure that interest in the eyes of our great government.

Elvis nods.

SENATOR
In fact, you know what I tell them in Washington? I tell them, ‘Listen, we make enough bombs in Hollywood to put the defense budget to shame. You handing out any checks for our national security, you hand them down our way.’

Senator laughs at his own joke.

ELVIS
Man, you don’t miss a beat.

SENATOR
Miss a beat, miss a vote.

ELVIS
Say, maybe you can help me.

SENATOR
Fire away.

ELVIS
I need to meet the President.

SENATOR
Mr. President Nixon?

ELVIS
Privately.

SENATOR
Mr. Presley, Mr. President Nixon is a very, very busy man. Especially in the week before Christmas.

ELVIS
It won’t take long, I promise.

SENATOR
I mean, you cannot just walk up to the President in the White House. There’s protocol to consider.

ELVIS
Don’t get me wrong, Senator, I ain’t looking for no protocol.

SENATOR
I was thinking more of the President, Mr. Presley.

Elvis nods.

SENATOR
To tell you the truth, I have yet to have a private audience with the President after a lifetime of public service.

ELVIS
Busy, huh?

Senator places his right hand over his heart.

SENATOR
Busiest man in the free world.

Elvis steps away.

SENATOR
May I be so bold as to enquire why you wish to meet with the President, Mr. Presley?

ELVIS
Like to, but I am kind of busy myself.

Elvis steps back into first class.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FIRST CLASS CABIN – NIGHT

Everyone is asleep. Elvis grabs his makeup case and steps into the bathroom.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FIRST CLASS BATHROOM – NIGHT

Elvis runs the cold water.

Elvis opens his makeup case and rifles through until he retrieves three vials of pills. Pops the lids and pops pills as he hums and sings along to J.B. Coats’ gospel classic ‘Where Could I Go.’ Sings along to himself.

ELVIS
(singing)
Oh yes, oh yes
Oh living below in this old sinful world
Hardly a comfort can afford
Striving alone to face temptation’s sword
Oh won’t you tell me where could I go but to the Lord

Elvis pops some more pills.

ELVIS
(singing)
Where could I go, oh where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Lord, I am needing a friend who’ll save me in the end

Elvis splashes some cold water on his face.

ELVIS
(singing)
Oh won’t you tell me where could I go but to the Lord

Elvis grins at his reflection as he repeats the chorus.

ELVIS
(singing)
Oh won’t you tell me where could I go but to the Lord

Elvis steps out of the bathroom, humming.

 
AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 – FIRST CLASS CABIN – NIGHT

Elvis almost crashes into a LUSCIOUS STEWARDESS, 23.

ELVIS
Miss, can I ask you a question?

Luscious Stewardess looks Elvis up and down. She smiles.

LUSCIOUS STEWARDESS
Certainly, Mr. Presley.

ELVIS
Do you have a pen and some paper?

Luscious Stewardess takes out a slip of paper, jots something on it and hands it to Elvis.

LUSCIOUS STEWARDESS
It’s the Hotel Washington. That’s my room number.

ELVIS
That’s great, honey, but I am still going to need that pen and some writing paper.

Luscious Stewardess hands Elvis the pen and slips into the galley. Elvis returns to his seat. Luscious Stewardess returns with several pages of American Airlines letterhead.

Luscious Stewardess hands the paper to Elvis, leans in to him, opens his tray table and flicks on the overhead light.

LUSCIOUS STEWARDESS
If there’s anything else, Mr. Presley, you be sure to let me know.

ELVIS
Anything?

LUSCIOUS STEWARDESS
Anything at all.

Luscious Stewardess smiles.

ELVIS
Any chance of some more paper?

Luscious Stewardess smiles and leaves.

Elvis steadies a page on his tray table. Printed on the top of the page is the American Airlines logo as well as the words FLIGHT: ALTITUDE: LOCATION:

Elvis murmurs to himself as he begins writing.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Dear Dick . . .

Elvis scratches out his first words. He rolls the page into a ball, tosses it aside and starts writing on a new page.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Dear Mr. Nixon . . .

Elvis again scratches out his words. He rolls the page into another ball, tosses it aside and starts writing on a new page.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Dear Mr. President.

Elvis clears his throat and keeps murmuring as he writes on.

 


End of this sample. How did you like it so far? Like to see it all?


 

 
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