Tom Hanks has drawn some praise with his performance as Col. Tom Parker in Elvis, but not everyone is convinced by the portrayal. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie is not a traditional musician biopic as it’s a film that explores Elvis Presley’s rise through the eyes of his manager. Hanks looks almost unrecognizable in the role, and to play Col. Parker, the actor also employed a unique accent.
Per Variety, Col. Parker biographer Alanna Nash has taken exception to Hanks’ accent in the film. Nash is someone who spent a lot of time researching Parker’s life as the author of The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley. Asked if Hanks managed to capture Parker’s voice, Nash said that was not the case and offered an explanation.
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“No. It was more American, more rural. And he had what sounded like a slight lisp or speech impediment. Turns out he didn’t have an impediment — he was just trying to wrap a Dutch tongue around the English language, Southern-style. It sounded like a weird (Southern) regional dialect, and you would know it was Dutch only by listening for certain consonants. But Baz wanted to make him seem more ‘other.’ Or as Baz told me in an interview, ‘I thought it was very important that Tom present the audience with a strangeness, a sort of ‘What is going on with this guy?’”
Did Tom Parker Not Get His Due in Elvis?
Warner Bros. Pictures
Nash did say that there are some things Baz Luhrmann got right with Elvis. This includes the suggestion that Parker did all he could to prevent Presley from fulfilling his dream of embarking on a European tour. It was unfortunate for Presley, as the reason had nothing to do with the singer but with Parker’s lack of a passport.
“Parker had no passport and couldn’t go and didn’t trust any other promoter to take him. He cited several reasons — primarily security — and not big enough venues, or said the money wasn’t right. Near the end of his life, Parker is said to have been speaking with two promoters about this, since Elvis was so deeply unhappy about never getting to go tour Europe, but it never happened.”
While agreeing that Parker had crossed some lines as a manager, Nash feels that he also deserves more credit for the good things he’d done for Presley. In that regard, Nash says Luhrmann didn’t sufficiently give Parker his due with the Elvis movie.
“The Colonel is a complicated character, and while he always took too much of Presley’s money, he made some very sound decisions for him. Luhrmann hasn’t really given him his due by a long shot.”
Elvis is now playing in movie theaters. The film is rated PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material, and smoking. It stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll alongside Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker, with other stars incuding Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Xavier Samuel, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
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