Stefano Boscutti

Author, Screenwriter, Creative Consultant

 

Stefano Boscutti - Boscutti's Elvis Presley - Screenplay

 

“Boscutti’s 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 that’s based on a true. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Will Elvis convince Nixon to give him what he needs?

‘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

★★★★

‘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.’ Helen Nye

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

“Boscutti’s Elvis Presley” 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.

Rated NC-17 / ISBN 9780980712551 / 19,000 words / 76 minutes of sly reading pleasure / Buy Amazon / Buy Smashwords

Prefer to read free online? Scroll on to read the complete screenplay.

 


‘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

 

STEFANO BOSCUTTI

BOSCUTTI’S ELVIS PRESLEY

 

 

Author Edition
Copyright 2011 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved ISBN 9780980712551

Discover new stories, screenplays, novels and more by Stefano Boscutti at boscutti.com

 

 

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 bolls and looks up into the sun with his pristine blue eyes. His mother’s voice rolls over him as white cotton bolls 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 bolls. 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. Then 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.

ELVIS (V.O.)
First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have great respect for your office. I talked to Vice President --

Elvis raps the pen against his teeth as he tries to remember the name of the Vice President. Keeps murmuring as he recalls and writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Agnew in Palm Springs three weeks ago and expressed my concern for our country.

Elvis taps the pen against his forehead. Keeps murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
The Drug Culture, the Hippie Elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do not consider me as their enemy or, as they call it, the establishment. I call it America and --

Elvis grabs a second page and continues murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
I love it. Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. I have no concern or motives other than helping the country out. So I wish not to be given a title or an appointed position. I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large and I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - WASHINGTON AIRPORT - AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 - FIRST CLASS CABIN - DAY

Elvis continues murmuring as he writes on. Oblivious to the fact the plane has landed and all the passengers have exited.

ELVIS (V.O.)
First and foremost, I am an entertainer, but all I need is the federal credentials. I am on this plane with --

Elvis grabs a third page, and continues murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Sen. George Murphy and we have been discussing the problems that our country is faced with.

Sounds of Jerry’s voice cooing softly.

JERRY (O.S.)
Elvis, we’ve landed.

Elvis stops writing.

JERRY (O.S.)
Elvis, we’ve got to get off the plane.
ELVIS
But I ain’t finished the letter.
JERRY (O.S.)
They’ve got a car waiting. You can finish it at the hotel, E.

Elvis looks around at the deserted plane. He picks up his unfinished letter and pen in one hand, along with some spare letterhead.

ELVIS
So what is we waiting for?

Elvis picks up his makeup case in the other hand and strides out.

ELVIS
Let’s roll.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - LOBBY - DAY

Restrained Christmas decorations mark the lobby.

Elvis is checking in at the marble-topped reception counter.

Jerry holds onto his sports bag, Elvis still has his makeup case and letter in hand.

DESK CLERK
Which presidential suite, sir? Republican or Democrat?
ELVIS
Both.
DESK CLERK
Certainly, sir. Will there be anything else, sir?
ELVIS
I need a limo in thirty minutes. Black. Lincoln.
DESK CLERK
For how long, sir?
ELVIS
Gee, I don’t know. About thirty, forty feet I guess.

NEW MANAGER flusters in, nervously snapping his fingers.

TWO BELLBOYS in tight jackets and caps sprint to the desk. SECOND BELLBOY takes Jerry’s bag. FIRST BELLBOY (who looks a lot like a younger Elvis) moves to take Elvis’ makeup case.

Elvis glares at him.

ELVIS
Back off, freak boy.

Elvis turns to the New Manager.

ELVIS
You’re new here, ain’t you?
NEW MANAGER
Yes, sir, Mr. Pres --
ELVIS
All right, here’s the drill. Anybody asks, I ain’t here. You ain’t seen me, you ain’t heard me, you ain’t heard of me. And not just the press. Anybody and everybody, you got that?

New Manager nods fervently while flipping over two blank check-in cards.

NEW MANAGER
Sir, I’m not sure how to ask this --
ELVIS
But you want an autograph, right?

New Manager blushes.

ELVIS
All you got to do is ask.

Elvis signs the back of both cards. Elvis steps to the lift with Jerry. Two Bellboys lead the way with the Second Bellboy carrying Jerry’s sports bag as if the crown jewels were nestled on top.

New Manager inspects the back of both cards. One is signed ‘Liberace,’ the other ‘Sammy Davis Jr.’

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis and Jerry stand between suites 505 and 506.

JERRY
You want the Republican presidential suite or the Democrat presidential suite?
ELVIS
Which side is Nixon on?
JERRY
He’s a Republican, E.

Elvis grins.

ELVIS
Good enough for the President of America, good enough for me.

First Bellboy opens the double doors to the Republican suite for Elvis and dashes in.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

First Bellboy scoots from room to room, turning on every television set to a football game in full swing before exiting.

Elvis sits at a desk and reads out the top of the third page he wrote on the plane.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Sen. George Murphy and me have been discussing the problems that our country is faced with.

Elvis murmurs to himself as he continues writing.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Sir, I am staying at the Hotel Washington, Rooms 505 - 506. I have a man who works with me by the name of Jerry Schilling. I am registered under the name of Jon Burrows. I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent.

Elvis looks at the snow falling out the window for inspiration. Keeps murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing --

Elvis grabs a fourth page and continues murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
-- techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good.

Elvis pours himself a glass of water and drinks it all.

Keeps murmuring as he writes on.

ELVIS (V.O.)
I am glad to help just so long as it is kept very private. You can have your staff or whomever call me any time, today, tonight, or tomorrow. I was nominated this coming year as one of America’s Ten Most Outstanding Young Men. That will be on January 18 in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis grabs a fifth page and continues murmuring as he writes.

ELVIS (V.O.)
I would like to meet you just to say hello if you’re not too busy.

Elvis twirls the pen in his hand before murmuring as he signs off.

ELVIS (V.O.)
Respectfully, Elvis Presley.

Elvis folds the letter and is about to slip it into a Hotel Washington envelope when he suddenly unfolds it, murmuring as he adds a postscript.

ELVIS (V.O.)
P.S. I believe that you, sir, were one of the Top Ten Outstanding Men of America also.

Elvis folds the letter again and slips it into the Hotel Washington envelope. Elvis is about to lick the gum when he suddenly pulls out the letter, unfolds it and murmurs as he adds his last words.

ELVIS (V.O.)
I have a personal gift for you also which I would like to present to you and you can accept it or I will keep it for you until you can take it.

Elvis smiles and folds the letter for the last time.

Elvis slips the letter back into the Hotel Washington envelope.

Elvis licks the gum and seals the envelope.

 

ORLANDO - THE COLONEL’S VILLA - OFFICE - DAY

THE COLONEL, 54, is a big man squeezed in behind a small desk overloaded with clutter including a blazing red tanning lamp and a miniature pony he’s feeding with a baby’s bottle while grappling with the telephone receiver.

The Colonel has an unlit cigar jutting out the side of his mouth.

THE COLONEL
Ain’t seen him since yesterday, you say? You got no idea where my boy is at? No idea at all?

The Colonel slowly pats his miniature pony.

THE COLONEL
Vernon, you’re a disappointment, you know that? Well, he’s your son. I don’t know why you don’t have him committed. I mean, how many times I given you those forms? No, that’s not the point. No, no, no. No.

The Colonel fumes.

THE COLONEL
No!

The Colonel hangs up. He dials a number which is instantly answered.

THE COLONEL
Hello? American Express? Yes, I want to report a stolen card, a stolen Platinum card. A famous Platinum card.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Elvis is addressing the envelope when Jerry wanders in wearing a new black velvet shirt.

JERRY
You sure you got enough TV sets on?
ELVIS
They keep me company.
JERRY
But, E, I’m here.

Elvis keeps addressing the envelope.

ELVIS
Not forever you ain’t. Nice shirt, though.
JERRY
You like it?
ELVIS
Where could I get me a shirt like that?

Jerry starts taking the shirt off his back.

JERRY
It’s all yours. I brought another one with me.

Jerry hands Elvis his shirt.

ELVIS
No, I couldn’t take the shirt off your back, man.
JERRY
Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just a shirt.

Elvis takes the shirt.

ELVIS
Man, I am touched. It’s been a while since anybody gave me anything.
JERRY
It’s just a shirt, man.

Jerry strolls back to his suite. Elvis wanders off to the bathroom.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - BATHROOM - DAY

Elvis tucks in Jerry’s shirt as he munches down a few pills. He checks his reflection in the mirror.

ELVIS
All right, Elvis, don’t you be letting me down now. Don’t be getting all nervy on me. Don’t be getting no doubts.

Elvis pulls a gold chain swinging a gold Crucifix out of his makeup case and hangs it around his neck.

ELVIS
Who is the king? You is the king!

Elvis slinks a gold chain swinging a gold Star of David out of his makeup case and slings it round his neck.

ELVIS
You is the one, Elvis. You is the chosen one.

Elvis drags a gold chain swinging a gold Ankh out of his makeup case and dangles it round his neck.

ELVIS
You is the real, real thing.

Elvis eats a few more pills. Elvis sneers into his reflection.

ELVIS
A dangerous man of notorious charisma.

Jerry knocks on the bathroom door that muffles his voice.

JERRY (O.S.)
Hey, E, you all right in there?
ELVIS
Course I am all right! What the hell can happen to a man in his own damn bathroom?

Elvis steps out, grinning from ear to ear. Crucifix, Star of David and Ankh glimmer round his neck.

JERRY
In gold we trust?
ELVIS
I ain’t about to be kept out of heaven on no technicality.
JERRY
Limo’s waiting.
ELVIS
You stay here and work the phone, all right. Keep ringing the White House till you get through.

Jerry winces.

JERRY
E, it’s Sunday.
ELVIS
You don’t work Sundays now?
JERRY
It’s not that. It’s just who’s going to be at the White House on Sunday?
ELVIS
The President.
JERRY
Okay, I’ll give it a try.
ELVIS
Try my ass. Either do it or don’t.
JERRY
I said I’ll try.
ELVIS
Ain’t no trying about it. Trying ain’t going to get you nowhere. Either do it or don’t.
JERRY
I’ll try.
ELVIS
Hell, then you might as well give up before you even start.
JERRY
Okay, okay, I’ll do it.

Elvis picks up the sealed and addressed envelope off the desk and strides out, gold chains jangling.

Jerry picks up the phone book and starts flipping through the pages.

Sounds of Lincoln sweeping down a deserted avenue.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE - DAY

Black Lincoln limousine sweeps towards the White House, banking towards the Northwest Gate.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE - NORTHWEST GATEHOUSE - DAY

Black Lincoln limousine screeches to a stop 50 yards in front of the gatehouse and closed gates. ARMED GUARD looks out the gatehouse at the idling limousine, engine growling in the cold air.

SECOND ARMED GUARD in matching uniform steps out of the gatehouse with his rifle in hand.

Back door of limousine opens.

Second Armed Guard holds his rifle in front of him as he approaches.

Elvis’ left foot steps out of the back of the limousine and crunches onto the snow.

Second Armed Guard freezes and lifts his rifle higher.

Elvis’ right foot steps out of the back of the limousine and crunches onto the snow.

Second Armed Guard lifts his rifle to his eye.

Elvis steps out of the back of the limousine.

Second Armed Guard lowers his rifle.

Elvis approaches the Second Armed Guard with the envelope in hand. He salutes. Second Armed Guard automatically salutes.

Elvis hands him the sealed envelope and returns to the back of the limousine which swiftly speeds off.

Second Armed Guard looks down at the envelope.

Elvis’ handwriting reads - PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL - Attn: President Nixon via Sen. George Murphy, from Elvis Presley

 

WASHINGTON, DC - PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE - DAY

Elvis beams in the back of the limousine. Left foot tapping, right hand drumming the armrest.

SERIOUS DRIVER
Back to the hotel, sir?
ELVIS
Yes, thank you.
SERIOUS DRIVER
Right away, sir.

Elvis glances out and spots a SLEEK BLACK CAT crossing the road up ahead.

ELVIS
Sweet Jesus, stop.
SERIOUS DRIVER
Sir?
ELVIS
Stop the damn car. Stop the car, stop the car now!
SERIOUS DRIVER
Sir, I don’t --
ELVIS
Slam the brakes on, man!!
SERIOUS DRIVER
Sir, I --
ELVIS
The brakes, man!!

Serious Driver slams on the brakes. Limousine slides to a stop across the middle of the deserted road. Sleek Black Cat dances over to the intersection.

ELVIS
Turn back ‘round.
SERIOUS DRIVER
But we just --
ELVIS
I don’t care. Get us back to the hotel some other damn way.

Serious Driver turns the limousine around over a grassy knoll and drives off in the direction they just came.

Sleek Black Cat slinks off the intersection.

Sounds of squealing brakes as two matching Ford sedans collide head-on in the middle of the intersection.

 

ORLANDO - THE COLONEL’S VILLA - OFFICE - DAY

The Colonel is behind his desk, nursing his miniature pony and working the phone. Red tanning lamp still blazing.

Unlit cigar still juts out the side of his mouth.

THE COLONEL
Vernon, I don’t give a shit about the guns. What? What? He’s been living with death treats his whole life. It don’t make one lick of difference. No, no, no, no.

The Colonel shakes his head.

THE COLONEL
Listen, if I know my boy he’s going to call Red before long and when he does you call me straight up, you hear.

The Colonel hangs up. He dials a number which is promptly answered.

THE COLONEL
Hello? FBI? I need to report me a kidnapping, a rock and roll celebrtity kidnapping that’s out of control.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TWO CONTINENTS RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Elvis and Jerry are sitting down to a meal. Both are wearing the same black velvet shirt. Elvis compulsively cleans his cutlery with his napkin. (Man, they are gleaming clean.)

Elvis shakes his head.

ELVIS
I don’t know, I got a bad feeling about this.
JERRY
Man, it was just a cat.
ELVIS
A black cat, man. Black.
JERRY
You got something against black cats?
ELVIS
Only when they cross my path.

Elvis pushes his plate aside with the back of his hand.

ELVIS
And I got to tell you, I am superstitious of anyone who ain’t superstitious.

Jerry shakes his head as he looks for the salt shaker.

Elvis points to an empty table at the far end of the restaurant.

ELVIS
There’s two salt shakers on that table over there.

Jerry peers at where Elvis is pointing and can’t see how Elvis can possibly make out what’s on the distant table.

On the distant table sit two matching salt shakers side by side.

JERRY
I kind of lost my appetite.
ELVIS
How many times you call the White House?
JERRY
I told you already.
ELVIS
Tell me again.
JERRY
About ten thousand times. And I left a message every time. And no, no one called back.

Elvis glares.

JERRY
So shoot me.

Elvis sneers.

ELVIS
You sassing me?
JERRY
E, you got to learn to relax.

NERVOUS WAITER brings over two coffees. He offers a silver bowl of sugar cubes to Elvis.

Elvis takes two and pops them straight in his mouth.

Jerry doesn’t take sugar. Nervous Waiter places the bowl down and leaves.

ELVIS
And you got to learn to keep your fucking mouth shut.
JERRY
Christ, E, what the fuck’s eating you?
ELVIS
None of your fucking business.

Jerry throws his hands up to surrender.

JERRY
Just asking?
ELVIS
Back the fuck off. I don’t like people getting into my brain.

Jerry gets up.

JERRY
Thanks for sharing.
ELVIS
Wait up! Don’t leave!
JERRY
Why the fuck not?
ELVIS
I got too much on my mind, Jerry.
JERRY
We all got shit to deal with, E.
ELVIS
You think it’s easy being Elvis Presley? Man, you don’t know the half of it.

Jerry is not impressed.

ELVIS
Sit down and I’ll tell you a story.

Elvis looks at the empty seat.

ELVIS
Tell you a story about a brother you didn’t even know I had?

Jerry sits down.

ELVIS
A twin brother.

Elvis drops one, two sugar cubes in his coffee.

JERRY
A twin brother, E?

Elvis starts slowly stirring his coffee.

ELVIS
Jesse Garron Presley. Born dead he was. Smothered to death saving me.

Elvis keeps stirring his coffee.

ELVIS
Buried the day I was born in an unmarked grave in Tupelo Cemetery ‘cause my daddy didn’t have no money for no proper burial.

Elvis keeps stirring his coffee around and around.

ELVIS
I remember when I was little, couldn’t have been more than two years old, and a tornado ripped through Tupelo on a Sunday when most folk were at church. Tore the town right up, killed hundreds. And I prayed and prayed and prayed it would take me away, take me up to the mansion in the sky, take me up to Jesse.

Elvis stops stirring his coffee.

ELVIS
He’s my guardian angel, he’s my original bodyguard.

Jerry swallows hard.

ELVIS
I still hear his voice, Jerry. I hear his voice all the time.

Elvis bows his head, a single tear slips down his cheek.

ELVIS
Why am I the one that’s alive? Why me?

Elvis stands up.

ELVIS
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

Elvis walks away.

ELVIS
To know the pain of too much tenderness.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - THE WHITE HOUSE - ANTEROOM - NIGHT

EGIL ‘BUD’ KROGH, 29, is an overeager office aide. H.R. HALDEMAN, 56, is President Nixon’s Chief of Staff and has seen it all before. H.R. Haldeman is holding out Elvis’ letter as if it’s contaminated.

H.R. HALDEMAN
Bullshit! It’s bullshit!
BUD
I don’t think so.
H.R. HALDEMAN
It’s a bullshit letter. It’s crap.
BUD
The guards swear it was Elvis Presley.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Why wouldn’t his manager, you know, that Colonel guy, contact us, for God’s sake? It’s a crappy joke, I tell you.
BUD
The guards swear it was Elvis Presley.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Most likely some impersonator or something. Shit, it looks like it was written by a two year old. Most likely some Democrat prank.
BUD
I think you’re wrong.

H.R. Haldeman adjusts his glasses.

H.R. HALDEMAN
I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. And even if it is bona fide, what in God’s name do we stand to gain by letting some one-trick pony like Presley meet the boss? Shit, he probably doesn’t even know who Elvis Presley is.
BUD
Everybody knows who Elvis is.
H.R. HALDEMAN
The boss certainly isn’t everybody, is he now?

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

Elvis sits up in the king-size bed, wrapped in a white dressing gown. Crystal chandelier twinkles overhead. Television is on.

Elvis is slowly loading a round into a handgun. He looks at the announcer babbling on television. He looks at the handgun. He looks at the crystal chandelier. He looks at the handgun.

Elvis takes a deep breath and shoots out one of the bulbs in the chandelier. Bulb explodes into about a million points of light.

Elvis smirks and shoots out a second bulb.

Elvis throws his head back and laughs and shoots out a third bulb. Sounds of doors being flung open. Sounds of Jerry’s voice screaming out desperately from outside the bedroom.

JERRY (O.S.)
Noooooo.

Jerry screams into the bedroom doorway in his pajamas.

ELVIS
Just hitting out the lights, Jerry.
JERRY
Christ, E, haven’t you heard of a fucking light switch!?

Elvis blinks.

Elvis blasts out the light switches only inches from Jerry’s fingers. Bedroom collapses into shadows pulsing from the television.

ELVIS
Night, man.

Jerry slowly steps to Elvis.

JERRY
E, give me the gun.
ELVIS
What did I do wrong?
JERRY
Elvis, please give me the gun.
ELVIS
Man, it’s cool. We’re on the top floor. I couldn’t hit nobody even if I wanted to.

Jerry is by Elvis’ bed, open right hand outstretched.

Shadows glow from the television.

Elvis gently places the handgun into Jerry’s palm.

ELVIS
I am only doing this ‘cause I love you, man.

Jerry leaves.

Elvis sits on the edge of the bed until Jerry has gone back to his suite. Elvis opens the drawer of the bedside table.

Inside is a hotel bible, some vials of pills and the gold-plated handgun. Elvis pops the lid on one vial, pops a few pills into his palm and tosses them into his mouth.

Elvis wanders over to the lounge chair in front of the television.

TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
Thank you, and good night.

Elvis slumps in the lounge chair. American national anthem plays out on the television screen over a shot of an American flag followed by a shot of clouds. A manly face forms in the clouds.

Elvis is asleep in the lounge chair as static hisses on the television.

Sounds of a hundred thousand FEMALE FANS stomping, cheering and screeching.

 

DREAM - CONCERT STAGE

Elvis is clad in a black jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, black bejeweled cape and black prize-fighter belt jeweled up to the max.

Elvis is awash in blinding light and singing out the last lines of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama” to a screaming audience of tens of thousands of GIRLS and WOMEN.

Tens of thousands of adoring GIRLS and WOMEN who look like every possible variation of Gladys Presley pulse on every beat of the closing verse.

Elvis’ voice doubles up as if multi-tracked. Elvis sees his twin JESSE GARON PRESLEY is singing with him on stage in a white jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, cape and belt. Crying out that it’s all going to be all right.

Closing chords reverb out into the ecstatic audience.

Jesse smiles at Elvis.

Elvis reaches out to him.

Jesse takes one step back, cape swirling.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - DAY

Elvis stirs awake in the lounge chair. He shuffles into the bathroom in his white dressing gown, sad and confused.

 

ORLANDO - THE COLONEL’S VILLA - OFFICE - DAY

The Colonel is behind his desk, looking down at his sleeping miniature pony while working the phone and chewing on his unlit cigar. Red tanning lamp still blazing.

THE COLONEL
Vernon, do I pay you to think? No, exactly. Well, Vernon, he will before long. Why? What do you mean why? Because I know, Vernon. I am not The Colonel for nothing. Well, he will. No, you tell Red to call me soon as anybody calls him.

The Colonel hangs up. He dials a number which is hastily answered.

THE COLONEL
Hello? Associated Press? I want the East Coast Editor’s desk. Got me a horrible, terrible plane crash to report. Well, you will when I tell you who was on board.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - THE WHITE HOUSE - BOARDROOM - DAY

H.R. Haldeman and Bud stand at opposite ends of a long mahogany boardroom table.

H.R. Haldeman has his hands on a large closed appointment book. Bud has Elvis’ letter in an open folder.

BUD
I think we could get Elvis Presley to entertain the troops.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Bullshit!
BUD
It’d be good press for him.
H.R. HALDEMAN
And for us?
BUD
Popular support, patriotic duty, you know, the usual stuff. Great copy, great photo ops. Elvis ‘Vietnam’ Presley.

H.R. Haldeman grips the large appointment book even tighter.

H.R. HALDEMAN
You think for one minute I need Elvis ‘Shithead’ Presley to win this war?
BUD
Personally, I think we need all the help we can get.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Personally? Personally? Egil, leave the territorial disputes and wars to me.
BUD
Don’t call me Egil.
H.R. HALDEMAN
You take care of whatever domestic issues you’re supposed to.
BUD
But it’s Elvis Presley.
H.R. HALDEMAN
According to who, Egil?

 

WASHINGTON - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Jerry watches Elvis opening all the windows and fanning himself with cool air.

ELVIS
Man, I am burning up.
JERRY
E, you sure it’s a good idea to keep phoning the White House?

Elvis keeps pacing.

ELVIS
Got to keep the pressure up, Jerry. Back in an hour or so.
JERRY
E, you sure you’re going to be all right?

Elvis smiles, slips on his sunglasses and strides out of the room.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis strides into the open elevator and turns.

Elevator doors slide together with a sigh.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - BASEMENT CAR PARK - DAY

Elevator doors slide apart with a gasp.

Elvis strides out and into the back of the waiting black Lincoln limousine.

Serious Driver checks his rear-view mirror. Elvis looks back.

ELVIS
Justice Department. Bureau of Dangerous and Narcotic Drugs.

Limousine squeals off.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND DANGEROUS DRUGS - DAY

Limousine screeches to a stop on the steps of the government building. Elvis steps out of the limousine and looks up into the sky. Dark clouds shroud over the building.

Elvis straightens his sunglasses and bounds step by step into the darkening building.

 

ORLANDO - THE COLONEL’S VILLA - OFFICE - DAY

The Colonel is still behind his desk. He pulls the cigar out of his mouth, clips the soggy end, rolls it between his lips, strikes a match off the side of the blazing red tanning lamp and flames the tip.

Pall of acrid smoke plumes over his rising smirk.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND DANGEROUS DRUGS - DAY

Elvis ambles out of the darkened building and shuffles down to the limousine step by step.

Elvis takes off his sunglasses and throws them into the back of the limousine, steps in and slams the door. Limousine slinks away. Dark clouds part over the building.

 

ORLANDO - THE COLONEL’S VILLA - OFFICE - DAY

The Colonel, shrouded in bitter smoke, starts laughing and coughing and laughing.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Jerry is staring at the telephone when Elvis steps in.

JERRY
Hey, man, how’d you go?
ELVIS
Not good.
JERRY
What do you mean?
ELVIS
Justice Department outright refused to make me an officer of the Bureau of Dangerous and Narcotic Drugs. Said it couldn’t be done, not under no circumstances.
JERRY
No circumstances?
ELVIS
No circumstances.
JERRY
No badge?
ELVIS
No badge, Jerry. How’d you go?
JERRY
Not good.
ELVIS
No answer?
JERRY
No answer, Elvis. White House said if I kept calling they’d call out the National Guards.
ELVIS
National Guards?

Jerry nods.

JERRY
Yep!
ELVIS
No?
JERRY
Yep!!
ELVIS
Shit!

Elvis shakes his head.

ELVIS
What we going to do now?
JERRY
I say we take our sorrows downstairs and drown the fuckers before they learn how to swim.
ELVIS
But I don’t drink.
JERRY
I promise I’ll drink more than enough for the both of us.
ELVIS
Good, ‘cause I got more than enough sorrows to go ‘round.

Jerry leaves for his own suite.

JERRY
See you downstairs in ten.

Elvis walks to the bathroom.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - BATHROOM - DAY

Elvis walks in and looks at his reflection. He hangs his head.

Reflection looks down at Elvis.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - THE WHITE HOUSE - H.R. HALDEMAN’S OFFICE - NIGHT

H.R. Haldeman screams out to a secretary who’s not at the desk overflowing with Christmas cards outside his office.

H.R. HALDEMAN
Lucy, are you there? Lucy?

H.R. Haldeman looks at Bud clutching a bunch of telephone messages.

H.R. HALDEMAN
I don’t have time for this.
BUD
But --
H.R. HALDEMAN
But I don’t care if the boss wants to talk about it.
BUD
But --

H.R. Haldeman opens the large appointment book.

H.R. HALDEMAN
But look, even if it’s Jesus H. Christ I can’t fit him in. The boss is double-booked for the rest of the week. There’s no way I can schedule a meeting.
BUD
But what about ‘Open Hour’?
H.R. HALDEMAN
But ‘Open Hour’ is triple booked.

H.R. Haldeman slams the large appointment book shut.

Bud waves at the telephone messages.

BUD
But --
H.R. HALDEMAN
But I don’t give a flying shit how many phone messages you have.
BUD
But --

H.R. Haldeman opens a desk drawer and throws in the large appointment book.

H.R. HALDEMAN
But do you have a hearing impairment?
BUD
But --

H.R. Haldeman slams the desk drawer shut.

H.R. HALDEMAN
But no!

H.R. Haldeman hikes out of his office and into the hallways.

H.R. HALDEMAN (O.S.)
Lucy, where are you? Lucy? Lucy?

Bud looks at the desk drawer containing the large appointment book.

Bud looks out at the deserted hallways of the White House.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - SKY TERRACE BAR - NIGHT

Bustling with NUMEROUS PATRONS in various stages of intoxication.

ELVIS (O.S.)
Man, I get so lonely.

Elvis and Jerry are at a corner table, wearing matching black velvet shirts. Jerry has some 20 shot glasses of bourbon laid out in front of him. Half are empty, half are full.

JERRY
I got to tell you, E, for someone who doesn’t drink you sure sound like someone who does.
ELVIS
So lonely I could die.

Jerry throws back a shot glass of bourbon.

ELVIS
I been all alone since my mama left me. I had the world at my feet, but no one at my side. Nobody loves me, man, nobody.
JERRY
Elvis, you’re loved by millions.

Jerry throws back a shot glass of bourbon.

ELVIS
They don’t know me. They just look at me. They love what I do, that I can sing, that I move the way I do.

Jerry throws back a shot glass of bourbon.

ELVIS
But they don’t know my heart.

Jerry throws back a shot glass of bourbon.

ELVIS
And they don’t know my soul.

Jerry throws back a shot glass of bourbon.

ELVIS
They don’t love me.
JERRY
What about ‘Cilla?
ELVIS
She don’t love me no more.

BRENDA, 35, crashes onto the table from out of nowhere.

BRENDA
I love you.

Brenda wears a tight red dress, towering heels and a gossamer scarf. Her blonde hair is piled up high. Her full martini teeters in her left hand.

Brenda makes most Playboy models look chaste.

BRENDA
Always have, always will.

Brenda smirks at Elvis with lush blue eyes. She is sozzled. She looks at Jerry, then back at Elvis.

BRENDA
Well, if it ain’t the Bobsy Twins.
ELVIS
He is the ugly one. I is the good looking one.

Brenda checks their matching shirts.

BRENDA
I’m Brenda. Nice shirts, boys.
ELVIS
We love them.

Brenda sizes up Elvis.

BRENDA
Let me tell you about love me tender.

Brenda does her best Tuesday Weld impersonation.

BRENDA
I’m a lover girl. And I want a good time out of life. If it takes a man to go to hell with, that’s what I want. Hours and hours of heaven that just slide on down to hell.

Elvis looks at Jerry who’s captivated by Brenda.

Brenda is making eyes at Elvis.

BRENDA
Hours and hours of love that just slide on down to hell.
ELVIS
‘Love’ was my mama’s middle name. And my mama always told me to beware of the blue-eyed woman.

Brenda leans in to Elvis.

BRENDA
You don’t like my eyes?

Brenda keeps leaning in closer until she loses her balance and sloshes her martini into Elvis’ lap. Elvis yelps. Jerry grabs the martini glass.

Brenda giggles and moves to dab Elvis’ crotch with her transparent scarf.

BRENDA
Oh my, we don’t want to drown Little Elvis, now do we?

Elvis stands.

ELVIS
I got enough problems without worrying about that.
BRENDA
Maybe I should give him a little mouth to mouth?
ELVIS
Maybe some other time, honey.

Elvis leaves. Brenda calls out after him.

BRENDA
Maybe you’d like my sister better. She’s much, much sweeter.

Brenda turns to Jerry with a sly smile.

BRENDA
You like my eyes, don’t you?

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

Elvis is asleep in his white bathrobe in the lounge chair as static hisses on the television.

Sounds of a hundred thousand FEMALE FANS stomping, cheering and screeching.

 

DREAM - CONCERT STAGE

Elvis is clad in a black jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, black bejeweled cape and black prize-fighter belt jeweled up to the max.

Elvis is awash in blinding light and singing out the last lines of “That’s All Right, Mama” to a screaming audience of tens of thousands of GIRLS and WOMEN.

Tens of thousands of adoring GIRLS and WOMEN who look like every possible variation of Gladys Presley pulse on every beat of the closing verse.

Elvis’ voice doubles up as if multi-tracked. Elvis sees his twin JESSE GARON PRESLEY is singing with him on stage in a white jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, cape and belt. Wailing out the last line in unison.

Closing chords reverb out into the ecstatic audience.

Jesse smiles at Elvis.

Elvis reaches out to him.

Jesse takes one step back, cape swirling into a pair of angel wings that beat and flutter as he ascends away from Elvis.

Elvis weeps.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - DAY

Elvis wakes in his crumpled white bathrobe in the lounge chair with one hand outstretched, faintly weeping as dawn approaches.

ELVIS
Oh Jesse, Jesse. Don’t leave me, don’t leave me here.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - THE WHITE HOUSE - LINCOLN ROOM - DAY

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON, 57, sits behind his desk with his back to H.R. Haldeman and Bud. Sounds of Bach’s “5th Brandenburg Concerto” playing on the stereo.

Nixon is watching the sun rise out the window.

NIXON
Elvis who?
BUD
Presley, Mr. President, Elvis Presley.
NIXON
Yes, I remember, the Pelvic Epileptic, or something or rather. Did Ed’s show a while back. Rated through the motherfucking roof, am I right?
BUD
64 million tuned in, Mr. President.

Nixon spins his chair around to face Bud and H.R. Haldeman.

NIXON
Unbefuckinglievable! And he’s been voted America’s Most Famous Young Man?
BUD
Nominated, Mr. President, as one of America’s Ten Most Outstanding Young Men.
H.R. HALDEMAN
We’re not sure of the validity of --
BUD
Actually, Mr. President, your own press secretary has also had the distinction of being nominated as one of America’s Ten Most Outstanding Young Men.
NIXON
No fucking kidding?
BUD
God’s honor, Mr. President.
H.R. HALDEMAN
We’re not sure whether it’s ‘The’ Elvis Presley, Mr. President.
NIXON
What the fuck do you mean, H.R.? There’s more than one of these fuckers?
H.R. HALDEMAN
We’ve yet to attain a security clearance, Mr. President.
NIXON
And he wants to meet with me, eh? Says he’s got something for me, am I right?
H.R. HALDEMAN
Apparently so, Mr. President.

Nixon looks at Bud.

NIXON
Why the fuck would he want to meet me?
BUD
He seems very concerned about the drug issue, Mr. President.

H.R. Haldeman rolls his eyes.

NIXON
Rightly so. Rightly fucking so. It’s fucking killing our young people, you know that, don’t you? They try those drugs and they lose the will to live. They try those drugs and before they know it they’re voting fucking Democrat.
BUD
Yes, Mr. President.
NIXON
Rots their fucking brains.
BUD
Yes, Mr. President.
NIXON
Turns them into fucking zombies.
BUD
Yes, Mr. President.
NIXON
Scourge of the land. Like some fucking plague we can’t control. We have to put a fucking end to it.
BUD
Yes, Mr. President.
NIXON
You think this Presley could help us in our war against the drugs?
BUD
I believe so, Mr. President.
NIXON
Then you better handle a preliminary and let me know whether it’s worth a meet and greet.

H.R. Haldeman lifts up the large appointment book and pats it gently.

H.R. HALDEMAN
Mr. President, your time is not really your own. Plus we really require a clearance first with the FBI.
BUD
I tried telephoning, Mr. President, but most everyone at the Bureau has already left for their Christmas break.

Nixon spins his chair around to look at the sun rise.

NIXON
Just like those fucking fairies to leave early. Fuck them, you make the decision.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Mr. President, perhaps he had better check your availability with me after he’s had a chance to confer with the said Mr. Presley.NIXON
Sure. Meanwhile you want to get me the morning’s fucking newspapers?
H.R. HALDEMAN
Certainly, Mr. President.

H.R. Haldeman stands.

NIXON
Let’s see whose side they’re fucking on today. Let’s see whether they’re telling the fucking truth for a fucking change.
H.R. HALDEMAN
Yes, Mr. President.

H.R. Haldeman leaves with the large appointment book firmly in his grasp.

NIXON
And let’s hope they’ve kept the fucking melodramatics down to a fucking minimum.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Elvis stands in an open window frame, ready to jump out.

His white hotel bathrobe flaps in the breeze. He is sobbing wildly.

ELVIS
I’ll do it, I’ll do it! One more step and I swear I’ll do it!!

Jerry freezes in mid-step.

JERRY
Look at me, Elvis.

Elvis looks at Jerry.

ELVIS
Man, nothing’s going right. Everything’s going wrong. I had it with this life. I don’t want to be Elvis Presley no more.
JERRY
Elvis, think of ‘Cilla.

Elvis takes one step out the window.

JERRY
No, no, no, don’t think of ‘Cilla. Think of Lisa Marie. Think of your little girl.

Elvis thinks. Sounds of telephone ringing.

ELVIS
Better answer it, man. Might just be you know who.

Jerry backs up and picks up the receiver without taking his eyes off Elvis.

JERRY
From the White House? Yes, please, put him through.

Elvis smiles. Jerry keeps talking into the receiver.

JERRY
Yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Jerry puts down the receiver. Elvis grins and steps down out of the window frame.

ELVIS
So what time?
JERRY
Soon as we like. It’s a preliminary meeting with a Bud Krogh at the Executive Office Building.
ELVIS
Better get changed, man. You want to look your best. Executive Office Building. Man, I got a good feeling about this.

Elvis steps into the bathroom. Elvis pokes his head out.

ELVIS
You order the limo. I’ll call Red. Get him to fly straight up from Memphis with some new gear and all.

Elvis pokes his head back in and closes the door.

Elvis opens the door and sticks his head out again.

ELVIS
Man, is he going to be surprised to see me.

Elvis pokes his head back in.

Bathroom door closes.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING - BUD KROGH’S OFFICE - DAY

Office door opens.

Elvis is all smiles in his black velvet shirt. Jerry is in the background in the hallway, being patted down by security guards. Bud is ashen white.

BUD
I -- I -- I --
ELVIS
I am Elvis Presley. And you, sir, look like you have just seen a ghost.
BUD
Have -- have you seen today’s newspapers?
ELVIS
Hell no. We came over soon as you called.

Bud ushers Elvis into his office, closing the door behind him.

Bud hands Elvis a copy of the Washington Post with a story circled on page three.

ELVIS
Page three?

Elvis reads it, disappointed not to be on the front page.

BUD
I only just read it myself. The wire story here says you were kidnapped and died in some plane crash over the desert.
ELVIS
Those newspapers have written some strange things about me, but that’s got to be about the strangest story I ever read.
BUD
You aren’t dead?
ELVIS
No, sir. I mean, I haven’t had a solid hit for a year or two. But I ain’t dead yet.
BUD
That’s certainly a relief.
ELVIS
For you and me both, Mr. Krogh.
BUD
Bud, please call me Bud. Everyone calls me Bud. It’s my nickname.
ELVIS
What’s your real name?

Bud murmurs inaudibly.

ELVIS
Evil?
BUD
Egil.
ELVIS
Egil? Egil? Now that is one helluva name. That is something to be proud of. I don’t believe I ever met anyone by that name before.
BUD
Bud, call me Bud.

Elvis hands Bud back the newspaper.

ELVIS
You ought never shy away from your name, Bud. You got to stand up for what you believe in.
BUD
You now, I have to admit I’m a big, big fan. Since ’56. Never thought I’d be meeting you here though, that’s for sure.

Bud smiles.

BUD
You look great. Nice shirt.
ELVIS
You like it? Fan gave it to me.
BUD
Certainly don’t see many shirts like that in the White House.
ELVIS
My clothes are the tools of my trade. They give me rapport with the anti-establishment.
BUD
Rapport?
ELVIS
Dressed like this I can point out the error of their ways in an informal manner. Keep it real friendly like.
BUD
Really?
ELVIS
There are some people in the entertainment business whose motive and goals are not in the best interest of this country.
BUD
Honestly?
ELVIS
Why some people in the entertainment business are plain anti-American.

Elvis nods sadly.

BUD
Like Jane Fonda.
ELVIS
And The Beatles.
BUD
The Beatles?
ELVIS
The Beatles have laid the groundwork for many of America’s social problems with their unkept appearance, and suggestive music.

Bud nods.

ELVIS
They do not love America.

Bud nods gravely.

ELVIS
I love America more than life itself. I am living proof that America is the land of opportunity. I am living proof that the American dream does come true.

Elvis leans in conspiratorially.

ELVIS
Bud, can I talk private and confidential like?
BUD
Shoot!

Elvis looks around the office.

ELVIS
Bud, I’d like to personally pay back the country for a lot that’s been given to me.

Bud nods.

ELVIS
I’d like to help the President in any way I can.

Bud keeps nodding.

BUD
I’m not sure whether you’re aware I’m, among other things of course, responsible for national drug-control policy development.

Elvis smiles.

ELVIS
That’s one heavy responsibility, man.
BUD
The President is very, very concerned about the drug problem.
ELVIS
That makes two of us. You know, I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse in America. I am talking real in-depth.
BUD
Pardon?
ELVIS
And the drug culture, too. I try to help the guys in law enforcement around the country. They’re on the front lines. I drop in on police departments, help out however I can.

Telephone rings on Bud’s desk. Bud doesn’t answer it.

ELVIS
I got a lot of badges from police and sheriffs around the country.
BUD
So, how do you believe you can help the government, Mr. Presley?
ELVIS
Call me Elvis.
BUD
So, how do you believe you can help the government, Elvis?
ELVIS
By doing it my way.
BUD
My way?
ELVIS
Doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages.

Bud smiles.

BUD
We certainly need all the help we can get, Elvis.
ELVIS
Then I am your man, Bud. So when do I get to meet the President?
BUD
It’s a question of scheduling, Elvis. And the President is all scheduled up right now.
ELVIS
What did I do wrong?
BUD
You haven’t done anything wrong, Mr. Presley. It’s just a question of time, I’m sure you understand. His time is not really his own.
ELVIS
There’s nothing you can do?
BUD
I’ve done everything I can.
ELVIS
Everything?

Bud looks away. Elvis stands. Bud picks up two blank White House envelopes.

BUD
Mr. Presley, before you --
ELVIS
You want an autograph, right?

Bud blushes.

Elvis takes both blank envelopes and signs them.

ELVIS
Never be afraid to take your future into your own hands, man. ‘Cause if you don’t, somebody else will.

Elvis hands the envelopes back and leaves.

Bud inspects both envelopes. One is signed ‘Dean Martin,’ the other ‘Jerry Lewis.’

 

AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 - FIRST CLASS CABIN - DAY

Red West sits in the first seat. He chews gum, cracking his knuckles before he picks up his copy of Playboy magazine.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Elvis and Jerry are sitting down to room service deluxe hamburgers and fries topped with a dollop of thick brown gravy.

ELVIS
They ain’t going to let me see the President?
JERRY
E, whatever happened to the power of positive thinking? Pass the ketchup, please.

Elvis doesn’t. Jerry reaches across the table for the ketchup.

ELVIS
Did you just breathe on my burger?
JERRY
No, I did not breathe on your burger. Did you shit on my fries?
ELVIS
Nope, not me.
JERRY
Well, looks like somebody did.
ELVIS
Think positive, it’s good for you.
JERRY
Got to be better for you than this fucking food.
ELVIS
What? What is you talking about? These is Deluxe Burgers.

Elvis nibbles on a few fries.

JERRY
E, I’ve been living on Deluxe Burgers for days now and I don’t feel too hot.
ELVIS
They ain’t killed you yet.

Jerry burps.

JERRY
Not yet.
ELVIS
Hell, like to pass on a little something to perk you up. But I am running kind of low myself.
JERRY
Thanks for the thought, E. Nothing like living with double standards is there?
ELVIS
Double standards? Shit, I got double standards piled up on triple standards. I got so many standards I don’t know where to draw the line no more.

Jerry is grimacing at his hamburger.

ELVIS
But I swear I need me to meet the President and get me that federal badge.
JERRY
And if you don’t?
ELVIS
Hell, then what’s the point of living?
JERRY
You don’t think you might be overdoing it just a tad, Elvis?
ELVIS
That’s the point of living, ain’t it? All or nothing, right?
JERRY
Whatever you say, E.
ELVIS
Hey, you don’t like it, there’s the goddamn door.
JERRY
Fine, live it up, E.

Jerry gets up and leaves.

ELVIS
No, no, don’t go, Jerry. Don’t leave me. My head’s kind of messed up right now. I ain’t been sleeping too good, Jerry. I got a million things to worry about. And I got nobody, nobody to help me. Jerry? Jerry?

Jerry slams the door behind him.

ELVIS
I am running, stumbling, crawling for a friend.

Elvis starts weeping.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - 15TH STREET - DRUG STORE - DAY

Jerry is at the counter opposite a SNEEZING DRUGGIST battling a cold. Jerry digs into his pockets for loose change.

He jangles some coins onto the counter.

JERRY
How many do I get for 75 cents?
SNEEZING DRUGGIST
Not many. I’d have to break a pack.
JERRY
Okay then.

Sneezing Druggist separates two dozen pills into a plastic vial.

SNEEZING DRUGGIST
Do you need a label?
JERRY
No, thanks. But I could use a glass of water.

Sneezing Druggist runs a glass of water from the tap and hands it to Jerry.

Jerry downs two tablets. Sneezing Druggist swipes the coins off the counter. Jerry pockets the vial.

SNEEZING DRUGGIST
Sorry about the price. But those are the purest, most expensive vitamins money can buy.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - BATHROOM - DAY

Empty, discarded vials lie scattered in the sink. Elvis is sobbing into his reflection in the mirror.

ELVIS
You can’t leave me here. You can’t leave me here like this.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - 15TH STREET - DAY

Jerry strides along the sidewalk away from Hotel Washington and into the sunset with his hands in his pockets.

Jerry steps up to a pedestrian crossing. He looks left and right.

He looks up and spots a stop sign by the side of the road.

He glances behind the stop sign and views a yield sign.

He gazes behind the yield sign and sees a U-turn sign. He slowly shakes his head.

Then slowly turns around and heads back to Hotel Washington.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - BATHROOM - DAY

No lights are on. Only the setting sun illuminates Elvis sitting on the floor, spinning the barrel of his gold-plated handgun and thumbing back the hammer.

Spinning the barrel of his gold-plated handgun and thumbing back the hammer.

And spinning the barrel of his gold-plated handgun and thumbing back the hammer.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - LOBBY - NIGHT

Red West is at the reception counter, arguing with the Desk Clerk. He has two suitcases by his side.

Jerry walks in.

JERRY
Red West! Man, I never thought I’d be glad to see you.
RED
What in the good lord’s name is you doing here?
JERRY
I’ve been with Elvis.

Jerry heads to the elevator. Red follows.

RED
He didn’t tell me nothing about that.
JERRY
I’ve been with him since Saturday. It’s been kind of crazy.
RED
So what’s new?

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - ELEVATOR - NIGHT

Jerry and Red step into the elevator. Doors slide shut.

JERRY
He’s -- he’s kind of messed up.
RED
He’s always messed up.
JERRY
He wants to meet the President.
RED
Yeah, he mentioned something about that. Wants another stupid badge for his stupid-ass collection, right? How’s his medication holding out?

Elevator doors slide open. Red marches out. Jerry follows.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - NIGHT

Red heads to the Republican suite.

JERRY
His what?

Red puts down the suitcases and opens the double doors to the Republican suite.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - REPUBLICAN SUITE - DAY

Double doors swing open onto “Apocalypse Now.” The entire suite looks like it’s been hit by a tornado or Exocet missile or both.

Upturned furniture is sprawled all over the place, mangled televisions with screens kicked in spark and fume, torn curtains flit in the breeze, gasping through smashed windows.

RED
Welcome to Elvisland, eh?

Red steps in and calls out.

RED
El, you sonofagun, where the hell is you?

Bathroom door slams shut (loud as a gunshot). Red beelines to the bathroom.

RED
El, it’s Red. I bought the gear like you said. Got it here with me right now.

Red looks at the closed bathroom door.

RED
You want me to come in and get you, El? That what you want?

Red looks at the closed bathroom door.

RED
All right, I’m busting in. You better step away from the door, El. Don’t want to knock you out, eh?

Red cracks his neck.

Red stiffens his shoulder and is about to charge the bathroom door when Elvis’ frail voice strains through from the other side.

ELVIS (O.S.)
Get me Doc?
RED
Why, Doc ain’t here, El. He’s back in Memphis with the rest of the guys. You want me to get him to fly up?
ELVIS (O.S.)
I am tired. So goddamn tired.
RED
I got Jerry here with me, El.
ELVIS (O.S.)
Jerry?
JERRY
I’m here, Elvis.

Bathroom door flies open and Elvis rushes out to hug Jerry. Tears are streaming down Elvis’ face.

ELVIS
You came back, man. You came back.

Elvis clings onto Jerry.

JERRY
What are friends for?

Elvis hangs off Jerry. Red picks up the two suitcases.

All three amble over to Jerry’s Democrat Suite.

 

AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 - FIRST CLASS CABIN - NIGHT

The Colonel sits in the first seat. He chews on his cigar, checking his watch before he picks up his copy of Miniature Pony World magazine.

 

WASHINGTON - THE WHITE HOUSE - H.R. HALDEMAN’S OFFICE - NIGHT

Flashlight beam slices through the darkened office.

Flashlight accidentally knocks over a row of pristine Christmas cards on H.R. Haldeman’s desk.

Bud almost drops the flashlight, righting the tumbled cards. He notices they’re all blank.

Bud shakes his head.

Bud almost knocks over a vase. He notices the flowers are plastic.

Bud shakes his head.

Bud opens a desk drawer and spots the large appointment book.

Bud nods his head.

Bud takes the large appointment book out of the desk drawer, closes the drawer, flicks off the flashlight and exits.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - NIGHT

Jerry is fast asleep on a sofa. His vial of unlabeled vitamin pills are on a coffee table.

Red is snoring on a chair propped up next to the closed door of the main bedroom.

Main bedroom doorknob slowly turns and the door opens.

Elvis creeps out, clad in a fresh white dressing gown, and silently tiptoes over to the coffee table.

Elvis picks up the vials of pills. Jerry stirs in his sleep without waking.

Elvis pops the lid. Red snorts without waking.

Elvis whispers ever so quietly.

ELVIS
Time for one last goodbye, boys. Time for the big sleep.

Elvis tips a bunch of pills down his throat and whispers.

ELVIS
A heart without love cannot live.

Elvis tips the rest of the pills down his throat and murmurs.

ELVIS
Without love I had nothing. Without love I had nothing at all. I have conquered the world, but what did I have? For without love I had nothing at all.

Elvis puts the empty vial silently back on the coffee table and returns to the main bedroom and gently closes the door.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

Elvis turns the volume on the television down before switching the set off.

Elvis climbs onto the unturned bed and slowly folds up into a fetal position.

Elvis softly places both his palms together in prayer.

Elvis languidly closes his eyes.

Sounds of a hundred thousand FEMALE FANS stomping, cheering and screeching.

 

DREAM - CONCERT STAGE

Elvis is clad in a black jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, black bejeweled cape and black prize-fighter belt jeweled up to the max.

Elvis is awash in blinding light and singing out the last lines of “That’s All Right, Mama” to a screaming audience of tens of thousands of GIRLS and WOMEN.

Tens of thousands of adoring GIRLS and WOMEN who look like every possible variation of Gladys Presley pulse on every beat of the closing verse.

Elvis’ voice doubles up as if multi-tracked. Elvis sees his twin JESSE GARON PRESLEY is singing with him on stage in a white jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, cape and belt. It’s all going to be all right now.

Closing chords reverb out into the ecstatic audience.

Jesse smiles at Elvis.

Elvis reaches out to him.

Jesse takes one step back, cape swirling into a pair of angel wings that beat and flutter as he ascends away from Elvis.

Higher and higher over Elvis until he starts descending gently.

Elvis stands with both arms outstretched, watching Jesse descend into him.

Watching Jesse descend into his own skin. Watching Jesse’s open hands superimposed over his own until he becomes all of him.

Elvis gazes at both his hands. Elvis smiles, beatific.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - MASTER BEDROOM - DAY

Elvis wakes in his fresh white bathrobe on top of the bed, both arms outstretched. He smiles, beatific, as a perfect dawn streaks in.

Sounds of telephone ringing in the other room before being answered by Jerry. Short muffled conversation.

Bedroom door bursts open. Jerry bursts in. Red hangs in the background.

JERRY
E! E! Great fucking news. That was that Krogh guy from the White House. They found some time today. You’re on, man. You’re on. You’re going to meet the President.
ELVIS
At ten past ten, right?
JERRY
How the fuck did you know that?
ELVIS
Red, it’s cool. I forgive you.
JERRY
E, you okay?

Elvis rises from the bed.

ELVIS
I am fine, now. I am real fine.

Elvis goes to the bathroom.

Jerry looks at Red.

JERRY
How did he know you ate all my vitamins?

Red shakes his head.

RED
I didn’t eat your fucking vitamins, you Los Angeles weirdo.
JERRY
Oh no, guess it must have been the vitamin fairy.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - WASHINGTON AIRPORT - AMERICAN AIRLINES 707 - FIRST CLASS CABIN - DAY

The Colonel swipes at AIRLINE STAFF in his rush for the door.

THE COLONEL
Out of my way, shit for brains.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Elvis steps out of the bedroom as if posing on a fashion catwalk.

Elvis is dressed in tight black velvet pants, white high collar shirt, black velvet vest and black velvet cape.

He adjusts his trademark dark sunglasses with one hand while thumbing the other on an intricately designed gold belt buckle about the size of a small satellite dish.

ELVIS
So how do I look?
JERRY
You look like a fucking vampire, E.

Elvis is a little taken aback.

JERRY
A fucking fantastic looking vampire. Man, you look better than the real thing.
ELVIS
I feel better than the real thing.

Jerry beams.

ELVIS
Let’s go. Let’s really go.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - LOBBY - DAY

The Colonel crushes out his cigar on the marble topped reception counter. Desk Clerk is aghast.

THE COLONEL
Well, shithead, where’s my boy?

 

WASHINGTON, DC - THE WHITE HOUSE - OVAL OFFICE FOYER - DAY

Elvis pulls down the back of his vest. Elvis loosens his shoulders.

JERRY
Scared, E?
ELVIS
Only when I smile.

Elvis smirks. Jerry hands him a black and white photograph of his daughter LISA MARIE, 2, and piles sheriff and police badges on top.

Oval Office door opens and Bud ushers Elvis in. Bud holds the large appointment book firmly in his hands.

BUD
Mr. Presley.
ELVIS
Thanks, Egil.

Elvis shyly steps in. Bud closes the door.

Nixon is standing apprehensively by his desk.

BUD
Mr. Presley, the President of America. Mr. President, Mr. Elvis Presley.

Nixon juts out his right hand. Elvis just balances his badges and photo in his left hand to reach out with his right. Nixon takes it, places his left hand over the top and shakes it.

BUD
Mr. Presley has offered to reach a lot of young people through his music to help them get off drugs, to help them stay off drugs, Mr. President.

Elvis plunks down his badges and photo on Nixon’s desk.

ELVIS
I’d like to show you some of my badges, Mr. President.

Nixon flips through the pile of sheriff and police badges with his forefinger like some fossicking scientist.

BUD
Mr. Presley helps out our law enforcement agencies from time to time in combatting the drug menace, Mr. President.
NIXON
You know who uses these drugs? Protesters use these drugs, the ones caught up in dissent and violence.
ELVIS
There is some in the entertainment industry, Mr. President, whose motives ain’t entirely honorable, ain’t entirely American.

Nixon has no idea what Elvis is talking about.

ELVIS
But they’ll pay for it in the hereafter, sir.
NIXON
The government needs a lot of help on the drug problem.

Nixon flips away the last police badge to reveal the black and white photograph of Lisa Marie.

NIXON
Who’s that?
ELVIS
That be Lisa Marie, Mr. President.
NIXON
Lisa Marie?

Nixon picks up the black and white photograph.

ELVIS
Lisa Marie Presley, Mr. President. My daughter.
NIXON
Good looking girl. Don’t want her getting mixed up with this drug problem, Mr. Presley.
ELVIS
Hell no, Mr. President.
NIXON
The government needs a lot of help on this drug problem.
ELVIS
I want very much to help, sir. I been studying Communist brainwashing for ten years now, and the drug culture too.

Elvis confides in Nixon.

ELVIS
There’s a lot I can do with your personal help, sir.

Elvis looks around the Oval Office as he leans in to Nixon.

Bud strains to hear.

ELVIS
Mr. President, can you personally get me a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs? I been trying and trying and trying to get a federal badge to help on this drug problem and I --
BUD
Mr. Presley, we didn’t discuss --
NIXON
Can we get him a badge?
BUD
Mr. President, if you want to get him a badge, we can get him a badge.
NIXON
Well, get him a badge. And get a photographer too.

Bud goes to the telephone and makes a call.

ELVIS
Mr. President, there’s only one way I know how to thank you, sir.

Elvis reaches behind his black velvet pants and pulls out the gold-plated handgun. Bud faints on the spot.

ELVIS
I want you to have this, Mr. President. It’s my favorite. It’s a small token of my gratitude and appreciation, sir.

Nixon is clutching his heart.

ELVIS
It’s cool, man, safety’s on.

Nixon takes it cautiously and places it carefully down on his desk.

Elvis goes to Bud lying prone and unconscious over the President’s seal woven into the carpet.

ELVIS
Looks like all the excitement got the better of Egil.
NIXON
Egil?
ELVIS
That’s Bud’s real name.
NIXON
I did not know that.

Elvis reads the inscription on the seal in reverse.

ELVIS
I think Egil’s kind of embarrassed by it?
NIXON
I had an uncle called Egil. A good man. Honest man.
ELVIS
Might pay to let him know that.

Bud regains consciousness.

Elvis helps him to his feet.

BUD
I -- I -- I --

Bud reels out of the oval office.

NIXON
Uncle Egil was a farmer out Nevada way.
ELVIS
Ain’t much farming out that way no more. All roads lead to Vegas.
NIXON
Tough town. Fucking tough town to play, that Las fucking Vegas.
ELVIS
You telling me? Most everyone wants to be either at the tables or feeding slot machines. Real tough town.
NIXON
Did six conventions there. Nothing but fucking trouble.
ELVIS
Did six concerts there myself and all I got to show for them is these damn cufflinks.

Elvis shows Nixon a large gold cufflink holding his right shirt sleeve in place.

NIXON
Gold?
ELVIS
Solid gold.

Bud scrambles back in with an EXCITED PHOTOGRAPHER in tow.

Nixon stands camera left, Elvis camera right in front of some free-standing flags. Both men shake hands warmly.

Excited Photographer focuses.

EXCITED PHOTOGRAPHER
Say Merry Christmas.

Nixon grins. Elvis giggles as a realization hits him.

ELVIS / NIXON
Merry Chris --

Flash pops and freeze frames the King and the President shaking hands in black and white.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DRIVEWAY - LOBBY - ELEVATOR - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Black Lincoln limousine pulls up to the front doors of the hotel. Elvis, Jerry and Red pile out. Elvis is kind of snickering to himself. His shiny new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge is pinned on his black velvet vest, right over his heart.

Jerry speaks to the Serious Driver.

JERRY
Wait right here. We just need to pick up some things and then we head straight out to the airport.

Elvis and Jerry head to the front doors. Red follows.

Elvis stops to let a BLUSHING BRIDE, 21, in before him.

Elvis and Jerry rush through the lobby. Red follows.

Elvis is trying real hard to stifle his laughter. Jerry is smirking.

Elvis and Jerry bank into a waiting elevator. Red follows. Elevator doors close on Red. He has to squeeze himself into the elevator as the doors slap shut behind him.

Elvis bursts out laughing. Jerry joins in.

RED
I don’t see what’s so damn funny.

Elvis and Jerry are laughing hysterically as the elevator ascends.

ELVIS
Hell oh hell, I got me the holy laugh. Who would have thought it would come to me in the damn White House?

Red shakes his head.

ELVIS
In a blinding flash, clear as light - serve others beyond yourself. Serve others beyond yourself.
RED
You planning on starting up a restaurant, El?
ELVIS
Got to start up a new life. Got to start leading me an impersonal life. Got to start thinking outside myself. Got to start learning to be a little less selfish, a little more selfless.
JERRY
Hallelujah!
ELVIS
Got to open my heart.

Elevator doors open onto the top-floor hallway.

ELVIS
Got to let love in.

Elvis and Jerry step out and head to the Democrat Suite. Jerry follows.

JERRY
Man, that Nixon’s a goddamn saint.
ELVIS
The President didn’t say nothing, man. If anybody worked a miracle you did, Jerry. You did.

Elvis opens the double doors to the Democrat Suite.

ELVIS
I was lost, but now I’m found.

Jerry goes off to get his bags. Elvis goes to the phone.

ELVIS
And all I need is some airline tickets to fly the hell out of here.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - LOBBY - DAY

The Colonel waddles out of the men’s room, doing up his fly while pawing his copy of Miniature Pony World magazine.

The Colonel beelines to the reception counter.

Desk Clerk frantically picks up a telephone and madly dials a number. He covers the mouthpiece with his hand just as The Colonel arrives.

DESK CLERK
Now I’m afraid the line appears to be engaged, sir.
THE COLONEL
Engaged? Well, you better keep trying to get through or I’ll engage my foot so high up your ass it’ll come out your mouth.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Elvis is on the telephone, turning over his Platinum American Express credit card and inspecting his signature closely.

ELVIS
But, Miss, how can it be stolen if I’m holding it right here in my hand? Is that fact? Really? There is no way? Twenty-four hours? But, Miss, we really need to fly out of Washington like right now. No, of course I don’t want to get you in any trouble. No, no. Cash, you say? Well, thank you very much for your assistance, you have been most helpful and you have a very nice day now, you hear.

Elvis hangs up. Sounds of telephone ringing. Elvis looks around, then calls out.

ELVIS
Red, it’s for you!

Red enters.

ELVIS
By the way, how much cash you got?

Red looks at Elvis strangely.

RED
You know I never travel with any cash, El.
ELVIS
Do unto others, eh?

Elvis exits the room. Red picks up the receiver.

Split screen as phone is answered:

LOBBY - DAY

Desk Clerk fearfully hands the counter phone over to The Colonel.

THE COLONEL
How’s my boy doing?
RED
Thinks he’s Jesus Christ himself.
THE COLONEL
Tell him God’s downstairs, waiting.

Full screen as Red puts down the receiver and hangs his head.

RED
El?

Elvis answers from another room.

ELVIS (O.S.)
Yeah.
RED
The Colonel’s downstairs, waiting. We got to go.
ELVIS (O.S.)
Yeah, I know.

Red wanders through the suite, trying to find Elvis.

ELVIS (O.S.)
You go on downstairs, Red.

Elvis is in the bathroom.

ELVIS (O.S.)
I’ll wash up and be down there lickety split.
RED
I’ll wait, El. I’ll wait.

Red goes back out to the living room.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - BATHROOM - DAY

Elvis stares at his reflection.

ELVIS
I was blind and now I can see. I was deaf and now I can hear. I was numb and now I can feel.

Sounds of knocking on the front doors. Elvis steps out and heads to the living room.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Red opens the front doors to the Two Bellboys in tight jackets and caps.

Elvis beckons them in.

ELVIS
How you doing, boys? Come in, come in.

Two Bellboys smile embarrassed smiles as they step in.

Red closes the door behind them.

ELVIS
Step right up, win a duck. But please don’t pick up those bags just yet.

Jerry ambles out into the living room.

ELVIS
Jerry, Red, take a seat.

Jerry sits on the sofa. Red sits next to him.

ELVIS
We got us a slight problem here. Seems we got us no way to get us any airline tickets out of Washington without turning to The Colonel downstairs.
JERRY
The Colonel’s downstairs?
ELVIS
Now The Colonel and I go back a helluva long way. But these past few days I come some distance myself, with the help of a friend, and I think that turning to The Colonel now would be like turning back.

Two Bellboys look at each other.

ELVIS
And I cannot see the point of that. Can you?

Red stands up and heads for the front doors.

RED
Let’s go, El, we don’t want to keep The Colonel waiting.

Red opens one door.

Elvis walks to the door.

Red steps out of the door.

ELVIS
Not this time, Red.

Elvis closes the door, stranding Red out on the top floor hallway. Elvis locks the door in a snap.

Doorknob twists and turns as Red’s muffled voice chimes through the locked doors.

RED (O.S.)
C’mon, El, open the doors. We got to go. We don’t want The Colonel getting all mad and shit, now do we?

Elvis props a chair under the doorknobs. Red knocks sharply on the doors.

RED (O.S.)
Stop dicking around, man. Open the doors.

Red shoulders the doors.

RED (O.S.)
Elvis, open the goddamn doors.

Elvis rubs his hands together and looks at the Two Bellboys.

ELVIS
Right, boys, strip your gear off.
TWO BELLBOYS
But -- but --
ELVIS
But nothing! Undress!
TWO BELLBOYS
But -- but --
ELVIS
But take it all off!

Two Bellboys look at Jerry.

Jerry smiles.

TWO BELLBOYS
But -- but --

Elvis starts taking off his clothes.

ELVIS
But we ain’t going to fuck you. We just need your damn clothes!
TWO BELLBOYS
But -- but --
ELVIS
But hurry up!

Two Bellboys start unbuttoning their jackets.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Red is pacing like a tiger outside the front doors of the Democrat Suite, veins popping out of his neck.

RED
Elvis, you is starting to shit me right off. I got The Colonel downstairs and he is not going to put up with this fucking around for much fucking longer. Elvis, you got to fucking realize --

Doorknobs to the front doors slowly turn.

Front doors slowly part open.

Red peers in.

Red steps in.

RED
Elvis?

Red cannot see Elvis or Jerry or the Two Bellboys anywhere. Red wanders through the living room and into the master bedroom.

RED
El?

Elvis and Jerry and the Two Bellboys tiptoe out of an adjoining room into the living room behind Red and out the front doors.

Red spots them and dashes to catch them.

Elvis slams the front doors tight.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis frantically locks the front doors with a key.

He is dressed as a bellboy with a tight jacket and cap.

So is Jerry. Both are cackling with laughter.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Red yanks on the doorknobs.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis turns and turns the key. Second Bellboy is dressed like Jerry and looks real flustered. Elvis and Jerry are whooping it up.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Red yanks and yanks on the doorknobs.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis turns and turns and turns the key. First Bellboy is dressed like Elvis in black velvet pants, white high collar shirt, black velvet vest and black velvet cape.

Elvis’ trademark dark sunglasses are askew over his eyes and he keeps hitching up the intricately designed gold belt buckle and belt to stop it slipping down to his ankles. Elvis and Jerry are cracking up.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DEMOCRAT SUITE - DAY

Red yanks and yanks and yanks on the doorknobs. And they both snap off in his hands.

RED
Ah fuck it!

Red hurls the broken doorknobs at a large mirror that shatters into a thousand reflections.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - TOP FLOOR HALLWAY - DAY

Elvis, Jerry, First Bellboy and Second Bellboy rush to the elevator as the doors slide open.

Double doors to the Democrat Suite down the hall bulge as Red keeps shouldering them, trying to burst through.

Elvis ushers the Two Bellboys into the waiting elevator.

Elvis thumbs the lobby button as he primes the First Bellboy dressed in his black velvet outfit.

ELVIS
All right, now when you get to the lobby, you run out and you just keep on running like the devil himself is on your tail.

Elvis keeps thumbing the lobby button.

ELVIS
You run right out of the hotel, right out onto the street. And you keep running. Don’t you stop for nobody.

Elvis straightens the bellboy cap on his own head as he primes the Second Bellboy dressed as Jerry.

ELVIS
And you got to keep chasing him, calling out, ‘Come back, Elvis, come back. All is forgiven, Elvis, all is forgiven.’ All right, you got that?

Second Bellboy nods and nods. First Bellboy is adjusting Elvis’ trademark dark sunglasses over his eyes with one hand, feeling his way with the other and trying to keep the belt from slipping down around his ankles.

TWO BELLBOYS
Mr. Presley, sir, I can’t see a thing in these glasses.

Elvis sees the new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge still pinned on the black velvet vest. He unclips it and slips it in his own shirt pocket.

ELVIS
You don’t need to, son. You just keep running and running and running.

Elevator doors slide shut. Elvis heads to a grinning Jerry standing by an open door leading to a set of stairs.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - LOBBY - DAY

Elvis and Jerry pop their heads out around the bottom of stairs. (Bellboy caps sitting jauntily cockeyed. New Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge peeking out of the top of Elvis’ shirt pocket.)

PATRONS, GUESTS and STAFF are on their feet, craning to see out the front doors and mumbling in disbelief.

Elvis and Jerry beeline for the side door behind the crowd.

Something red blindsides Elvis totally out of the blue.

Elvis catches whatever it is to keep his balance. It’s a woman in a tight red dress with high blonde hair.

ELVIS
Brenda!
GLENDA
No, I’m Glenda. That’s Brenda.

Elvis looks at Brenda standing to one side, dressed in an identical red dress and high heels. They’re identical twins.

Brenda waves at Elvis with the gossamer scarf around her neck.

Jerry looks at the pair of them.

JERRY
Ain’t that something.
ELVIS
Ain’t that cool.

Glenda looks at Brenda.

GLENDA
Ain’t that --
ELVIS
Sssh, don’t tell nobody.
BRENDA
Looks like the Bobsy Twins have gone domestic. Nice hats, Elvis. Cute jackets.
ELVIS
We love them.
GLENDA
Hey, didn’t you just tear out of this place with somebody on your tail?
ELVIS
Sssh, we got to get out of here.

Elvis leads the way to the side door. Glenda and Brenda and Jerry follow.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - HOTEL WASHINGTON - DRIVEWAY - DAY

MORE PATRONS, GUESTS and STAFF are outside, jostling and pointing at who they think are Elvis and Jerry bolting down the road as fast as they can.

The Colonel is trying to catch his breath in the middle of the road as he watches the two running away. He hurls his copy of Miniature Pony World after them.

Jerry spots the open driver’s door on the unattended black Lincoln limousine. Jerry jumps in and starts her up. Elvis, Glenda and Brenda pile into the back.

Limousine squeals off.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - 15TH STREET - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis gapes out the rear window at the Crowd clamoring outside Hotel Washington and laughs and laughs.

Jerry peers in the rear-view mirror and laughs and laughs.

ELVIS
Man, we’re going all the way. All the way to Memphis, Tennessee.
BRENDA
All the way?

Glenda looks at Jerry and Elvis in their bellboy jackets and caps.

GLENDA
Ain’t you just a couple of monkeys.
ELVIS
And ain’t you just the spitting image. It’s like there’s some mirror there I can’t see. Man, how can anybody tell you two apart?
GLENDA
Brenda, she likes scarves.

Brenda waves at Elvis with her gossamer scarf again before pointing to her twin.

BRENDA
Glenda don’t like scarves.

Elvis looks at Glenda.

ELVIS
So you’re the sweet one I heard so much about?
GLENDA
I can be real nice.
BRENDA
And I can be real, real naughty.
ELVIS
Jerry! Turn on the radio, man! Let’s get a little music back here!!

Jerry switches on the radio and winds through some hissing stations until he hits one station playing a song loud and clear.

Sounds of the original recording of Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” tuning in through the limousine speakers.

Radio reception becomes stronger with each note until it’s real clear, real loud. Elvis laughs and shouts out.

ELVIS
Let’s dance!

Jerry flicks up the dividing screen between the front and back of the limousine. It’s mirrored. Elvis gets down with Glenda and Brenda.

Sounds of Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” roll out.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - DOWNTOWN - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Sound of Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” continues as black Lincoln limousine rolls past.

- Past UNIFORMED GIRL SCOUTS lining up outside another tourist attraction.

- Past a high-rise office building sprouting more than a hundred American flags.

- Past UNIFORMED SECURITY GUARDS entering a diner.

- Past a downtown road sign spelling out HAVE A CAPITOL DAY.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - SUBURBS - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” continues as black Lincoln limousine rolls past.

- Past UNIFORMED MARCHING GIRLS rehearsing their steps in a public park.

- Past a record store with hundreds of black vinyl records spinning in the window.

- Past UNIFORMED CHECKOUT GIRLS entering a supermarket.

- Past an urban road sign spelling out EXIT AHEAD.

 

WASHINGTON, DC - OUTSKIRTS - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” continues as black Lincoln limousine rolls past.

- Past UNIFORMED SOLDIERS trooping along the side of a road.

- Past row upon row of identical factories.

- Past UNIFORMED SERVERS entering a drive-through fast food outlet.

- Past a large road sign pointing to WASHINGTON COUNTY.

 

WASHINGTON COUNTY - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” continues as black Lincoln limousine rolls past.

- Past UNIFORMED HEREFORD COWS scattered across a field.

- Past hundreds of elm trees aligned perfectly along the side of the road.

- Past UNIFORMED PRISONERS working a field.

- Past a wooden road sign pointing to JACKSON BRIDGE.

 

WASHINGTON COUNTY - JACKSON BRIDGE - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right, Mama” continues as black Lincoln limousine rolls past.

- Past UNIFORMED ROAD CREW resting on their picks and spades.

- Past the bridge reflected in the river below.

- Past UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS stepping out of a roadside diner.

- Past a Rotary Club road sign spelling out SAY HELLO TO JACKSONVILLE.

 

JACKSONVILLE - MAIN STREET - BUS STOP - DAY

A bus bound for Washington idles outside a general store that doubles as the bus depot. PORTLY BUS DRIVER helps some LOCAL FOLK with their luggage.

Black Lincoln limousine slides to a stop next to the bus. Back door opens and Elvis steps out, tucking in his shirt.

Brenda steps out of the back of the limousine, trying to straighten the bellboy cap on her messed up blonde hair.

ELVIS
You sure?

Glenda steps out of the back of the limousine, pulling the bellboy jacket over her shoulders and straightening her messed up blonde hair. She reaches in the back of the limousine to recover one of her shoes.

ELVIS
You double sure?

Glenda holds out her forearm. Elvis autographs it.

GLENDA
We have to go back, Elvis.

Brenda holds out her forearm. Elvis autographs it.

BRENDA
We have to go back, Elvis.

Glenda and Brenda inspect their forearms. One is signed ‘Elvis’, the other ‘Presley.’

Glenda and Brenda interlock their autographed forearms together and head to the bus.

ELVIS
You ever get out Memphis way you make sure you look me up now.

Glenda and Brenda stop and turn around.

GLENDA
You talking to me?
BRENDA
You talking to me?
GLENDA / BRENDA
Who you talking to, Elvis?
ELVIS
Both of you, course.
GLENDA / BRENDA
You mean that, Elvis?
ELVIS
Double or nothing.

Glenda and Brenda move to the bus. Both turn in unison and wave before they step on the bus.

GLENDA / BRENDA
Bye bye, Elvis.

Bus door cranks shut. Bus leaves.

Elvis goes to shut the back door of the limousine.

He stops and plucks something shiny out before he does.

Elvis opens the front passenger, slides in next to Jerry and closes the door.

Limousine leaves.

 

JACKSONVILLE - MAIN STREET - DAY

Elvis pins his new shiny Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge on his shirt, over his heart.

He notices it refracting points of sunlight throughout the front of the limousine.

Elvis writhes in his seat to send the points of light glittering every which way.

ELVIS
Think this baby’s got air conditioning, Jerry?

Jerry flicks a switch, fingers two buttons and slides three levers until a torrent of cold air suddenly blasts Elvis.

ELVIS
Chilling, man, chilling.

Elvis jives in his seat, ricocheting points of light like some human mirror ball as the air conditioning blows and blows.

Past a Rotary Club road sign spelling out SAY SO LONG TO JACKSONVILLE.

Elvis and Jerry giggle.

ELVIS
So long, Jacksonville.
JERRY
So long, Jacksonville.

Limousine accelerates.

ELVIS
Hey, can you hear that?

Jerry listens to the engine.

JERRY
What is it?
ELVIS
Listen, man. Listen.
JERRY
What?
ELVIS
Listen.

Sounds of air conditioning blasting out cold air.

Elvis hits the button on the armrest to send the electric window whirring down. Swirling eddies of whirling air buffet Elvis.

JERRY
What?

Elvis cocks his head out the window and listens.

ELVIS
Them voices?

Faint sounds of a BLACK GOSPEL CHOIR hum on the wind.

Limousine takes a bend in the road.

 

JACKSONVILLE - HOLY BAPTIST CHURCH - DAY

Sounds of Black Gospel Choir singing out a searing rendition of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head.”

Cars are parked out front of the small wooden church painted the same color as the sky.

Limousine slides to a stop. Elvis steps out, captivated by the sounds.

Elvis steps up to the church.

Elvis steps into the packed church.

Choir is in full flight, singing how there is music in the air. Singing how they really believe there is a heaven somewhere.

Elvis is awed.

Choir clap hands in double time to up the tempo, and roll over into the opening chorus of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “Saved.”

They sing of soothing hearts and easing minds, of reaching out in triumph.

Voices ring out in glory.

Elvis joins in the chorus, joins in the refrain about the kingdom come, about the preaching done, about find the light that’s going to save his soul.

Choir kicks it up a notch.

Elvis claps along.

Choir thumps it out as the sing of forgotten vices, praying out to be saved.

Choir belts it out. Elvis moves with it.

Choir stomps it out as they reach out for glory, salvation in their heart.

Elvis stomps along.

Choir thrills it out. Elvis sings along with all his heart because he is saved. BONES HOWE, 54, stands next to Elvis. He only has one arm. He smiles at Elvis and joins in too.

Everyone sings higher and higher, and explodes in rapture.

BONES
Beautiful.

Bones’ eyes glisten.

BONES
Beautiful!

Bones is in seventh heaven.

BONES
Beautiful!!

Bones spots Elvis’ glittering new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge.

ELVIS
Out of this world. It’s got to be the most beautiful music I ever heard.
BONES
And that, sir, has got to be the most beautiful badge I ever seen.
ELVIS
You like this badge?
BONES
Where can I get me a badge like that?
ELVIS
You like it, you can have it.

Elvis unpins his new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge.

Beat.

Elvis pins his new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge on Bones’ shirt, over his heart.

ELVIS
You don’t need to say nothing. It’s yours, man.

Elvis admires the badge.

ELVIS
Looks good on you.

Bones smiles. Elvis admires the man.

ELVIS
Looks real good.

Elvis leaves.

 

WASHINGTON COUNTY - HIGHWAY - LIMOUSINE - DAY

Elvis sniffs.

JERRY
You okay, E?
ELVIS
Oh yeah.

Elvis sniffs some more.

JERRY
You sure you’re okay, Elvis?
ELVIS
Yeah, ‘cept I think I can smell something burning?

Engine suddenly erupts into flames as if the doors of hell themselves burst open. Jerry slams on the brakes.

 

WASHINGTON COUNTY - HIGHWAY - DAY

Flaming limousine slides and screeches and skids all over the highway before coming to a complete stop.

Front passenger door and driver door fling open, and Elvis and Jerry tumble out.

Jerry scrambles to his feet, still dressed in bellboy jacket, pants and shirts, and crouches towards the hood, trying to fan out the flames with his little bellboy cap.

Elvis is rolling on the ground, laughing his head off.

ELVIS
I don’t think that’s going to help none.

Gust of wind unfurls down the highway. Flames leap higher. Jerry stumbles back.

Swirling flames engulf the black limousine.

Elvis starts ambling down the road. Behind him, flames lash at the black limousine.

Elvis looks up into the full white clouds staggering past. They are backlit by a low sun. Elvis shields his eyes with his right hand as he peers up at them.

Passing clouds form his face on the horizon for the briefest moment before they form into the shape of a radiant white dove for but a second.

Sounds of wings fluttering.

LUMINOUS WHITE DOVE flies towards Elvis out from the passing clouds, from the horizon.

White Dove sweeps towards Elvis.

White Dove darts towards Elvis.

White Dove flits and flutters and lands on Elvis’ raised right hand.

Jerry turns from the flaming limousine to see Elvis standing on the road with the White Dove perched on his raised right hand.

White Dove beats its wings.

Elvis looks into its eye.

White Dove beats its wings again. Then flutters up and up and away and swoops back down the road from where it came.

White Dove flies into the horizon until it becomes nothing but a small white point of light. Smaller and smaller.

White point of light begins to dilate from the vanishing point in the road. Larger and larger.

White point of light expands and expands until Elvis can see it’s a white car approaching. Closer and closer until he can make out it’s a white taxi.

It pulls up next to Elvis and Jerry.

Bones Howe is behind the wheel. The new Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge glimmers over his heart.

BONES
Where to?

Elvis smiles.

ELVIS
Home, man.

Elvis looks down the road.

ELVIS
It’s time to go home.

Elvis and Jerry open the back doors of the taxi and climb in. They close the doors.

Bones drives off into the setting sun.

 

FADE OUT

 

 


Bio

Stefano Boscutti is an award-winning writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Stefano is also a highly experienced creative consultant specialising in world-changing creative projects and campaigns for Ford, Foxtel, Lexus, Porsche, Qantas, SBS, Warner Bros. and more. McKinsey & Co? Not after the consultancy’s role in helping Saudi Arabia target online critics. Questions? Email stef@boscutti.com

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