Chuck D, noted scholar and ’80s-era prophet of rage, once shouted words that rang to my young ears as some of the truest shit ever written: “Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me.” Fortunately for Kurt Russell, Chuck was a decade too late to have affected Elvis fan and filmmaker John Carpenter, who hired Russell to play Presley in a two-part TV movie that aired on ABC in 1979. As a document of Presley’s life, it’s maybe not that insightful—more like a hagiography than anything. As a document of the first time Carpenter and Russell worked together, it’s pretty illuminating watching the birth of a creative partnership that would flourish in later films like Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China.


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