Elvis Presley Desperately Wanted to Star Opposite Sidney Poitier in This Classic Film

by Madison Miller
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We may know Elvis Presley best as the ultimate King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but the “Jailhouse Rock” singer also had a passion for acting. During his time in the spotlight, Presley starred in a number of different films. Most of which were pretty similar. They all featured Presley sweeping a lady off her feet in some shape or form.

From “Love Me Tender” to “Girls! Girls! Girls!” to “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” Presley certainly drew a certain crowd to the theater. For Elvis Presley, there was one movie that he wanted to star in very badly.

Elvis Presley Wanted to Star with Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier, the late film icon that just passed away at the age of 94, starred in his breakthrough movie “Blackboard Jungle” in 1955 as a high school student. However, his role in “The Defiant Ones” in 1958 was truly what started to put him on the Hollywood radar. He quickly would become the first Black actor to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

The movie tells the tale of two convicts that escaped together. The two are actually still shackled together and must learn how to cooperate in order to survive.

As it turns out, according to Express, Elvis Presley was desperate for the role of John “Joker” Jackson opposite of Poitier. Apparently, his manager Colonel Tom Parker blocked him from even getting an opportunity in the movie.

It is also speculated that this is the reason Elvis Presley would go on to play a convict in the infamous movie “Jailhouse Rock.” If he couldn’t be in “The Defiant Ones,” he wanted to get as close to the concept as possible.

Parker’s reasoning was that Presley had already typecast himself and it was working out for him just fine. He wanted him to stick to those musicals and love stories. While the movies generated good audiences, it prevented The King the opportunity of ever starring in something worthy of an Academy Award.

It all worked out though. Tony Curtis played Joker and he ended up with a Best Actor nomination as well.

The King Almost Starred in ‘Grease’

As it turns out, a role alongside Sidney Poitier isn’t the only thing Elvis Presley longed for. The iconic movie from 1978 starred Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta and would go on to be one of the biggest musical films of all time.

According to Vanity Fair, it was actually rumored that Elvis Presley was considered to get a role in the classic film. Although he’s got the greaser look, Presley would have played the part of Teen Angel, not Danny.

Teen Angel is the one who sings the catchy tune “Beauty School Dropout.” Sadly, this may have been for the best. He passed away in 1977 and “Grease” was still filming at this point. This means he could have died before the movie even started filming his scene.

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