HomeEntertainmentHow Kurt Russell Went From Playing Football with Elvis to Playing Him in a Movie

How Kurt Russell Went From Playing Football with Elvis to Playing Him in a Movie

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Donaldson Collection/Windward Archives/Getty Images

Former quarterback Peyton Manning loves football. He’s been taking this year as an opportunity to talk to others that love it just as much.

In his series, “Peyton’s Places,” Manning is talking to everyone from David Letterman to Brett Favre to Kurt Russell. The goal is to talk about just how culturally important football is.

Kurt Russell on ‘Peyton’s Places’

As for Kurt Russell, his passion for football started with his love for the New England Patriots and, well, Tom Brady. This caused Manning to jokingly get up and leave. Russell admits that it really was his first experience with the game. He was a successful baseball player himself.

Russell starred in the film, “The Best of Times.” It is the story of a quarterback who gets to replay a high school football rivalry game 13 years after it happened. He starred in the film alongside Robin Williams.

Russell has starred in everything from “Escape from New York,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and many more. The Guardian actually named him as one of the best actors to have never received an Academy Award nomination.

As for cultural importance, Elvis Presley is just about one of the most iconic figures to ever be a part of the entertainment business. Russell got to be in a film with him and then in another as him.

Russell Meeting Elvis Presley

When Kurt Russell was 10 he was in the movie “It Happened At The World’s Fair,” which came out in 1963.

In the film, Elvis Presley paid him to kick him in the shin. However, for Russell, one of his favorite memories from the set was getting to throw the football around with Elvis Presley in between scenes. Presley was a huge football fan and was known for always having a football with him on set.

He recalled in an interview at “The Art of the Steal” what it was like to be near Elvis. Most notably, he remembers not knowing exactly who he was since he was just a kid. However, he talks fondly about “The King” and even getting to watch his car be swarmed by crazed female fans.

“To a 10-year-old kid it’s like ‘What are they doing? What are they thinking?’ He came out later, through a different way, and he’s just this really nice guy. I was just this kid and I asked him ‘What’s the deal with all those girls jumping on your car?’ He could see that I was just this innocent kid and responded with ‘Ah they get crazy.’ I told him ‘You should never come in that way again, you know.’ So I remember that. I remembered him having his car completely jumped up with girls,'” Kurt Russell said.

Kurt Russell Playing ‘The King’

While he was in awe of Presley when he was just a 10-year-old, he got to play “The King” in a film about him 17 years later.

“He was a wonderful person and obviously a tremendous entertainer,” Russell said to Manning.

“Elvis” came out in 1979. It was made-for-television and originally aired on ABC. It received a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Made for Television. The film received a nomination for three Primetime Emmy Awards as well.

Kurt Russell really had the unique experience of meeting an icon and then getting to act as that icon.