Normally, this would primarily be a story about Amazon. See, the online retail giant has seen its streaming video service trail Netflix by a wide margin, even as it finally starts to see some success with shows like Transparent. So now it’s following Netflix’s lead and making a big move into film acquisition: Deadline reports the company has paid $4 million to pick up the domestic rights to a new film called Elvis & Nixon. And that would be the main thrust of the story, were it not for the fact that the movie stars Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley. Meaning, let’s go ahead and set aside a day on our calendars for this, because Michael Shannon is starring in a movie as Elvis Presley, and that means Hollywood has finally achieved the perfect fusion of actor and role.
The movie revolves around a famously strange meeting in 1970 between the President and the King. Because Elvis was well into his “I’m completely bonkers” phase by that point, the impetus for the meeting was Presley’s desire to be given a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (yes, that was the name). Reportedly, he believed this would allow him to enter any country in the world legally carrying any guns and drugs he wanted. Clearly, some genius was given the rest of the day off after musing out loud, “Wait, a totally insane Elvis? How about Michael Shannon?”
Amazon will still have a brief theatrical run for the film, likely to qualify it for awards consideration. This is apparently the first in what will be an ongoing process of Amazon searching out “edgy, awards-friendly fare,” for which we all owe them a debt of gratitude. Because, frankly, it’s not going to get much better than this. Let’s celebrate by watching this minute-long scene from Revolutionary Road in which Shannon is so awesome, it should be probably be played every morning in elementary schools in place of the pledge of allegiance.