John Wayne Once Asked Elvis Presley to Co-Star in His Movie: Here’s Why it Never Happened

by Madison Miller

John Wayne and Elvis Presley had their own successful careers in the film industry.

At one point, they almost co-starred in a movie together, however, it didn’t end up happening. Why did The Duke and The King pass up on an opportunity to work together?

Clearly, we don’t have any ways to view John Wayne and Elvis Presley on the big screen together. That is unless you open “True Grit” on one half of your screen and “Love Me Tender” on the other side. While he would occasionally team up for a musical duet, The King always had to be the star in whatever movie he was in.

Presley and Wayne Movie Never Happened

During his film career, Presley starred in 31 feature films and two theatrically released concert documentaries. Many of the films were similar in plot.

According to Daily Express, Elvis Presley’s cousin said that Wayne had in fact asked Presley to join one of his films. It was right as Presley was beginning his career in the acting world.

Elvis’s cousin spoke about this in a video on his YouTube channel called Memphis Mafia Kid.

“Of course, it was always carried through Colonel and at that time when he was asking, Elvis was such a big star … Colonel didn’t want him to play second co-star or second star … with anybody else, so that ruled that out,” Smith said.

Colonel Tom Parker kept Presley’s business firmly in his grasp. He made some highly questionable decisions in his role as Presley’s manager. Namely, he believed that Presley was only a star because he allowed him to be. He also took a huge lump of Presley’s earnings.

The King was allegedly forced to turn down roles offered by stars like Robert Mitchum as well. Colonel Tom Parker’s obsession with making Presley a leading man in all ways kept him away from what could have been some highly influential roles.

Besides keeping under tight restrictions in his acting career, Parker did the same for Elvis’s musical career. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Presley never played outside of the United States, besides a couple of performances in Canada. Elvis was widely popular all around the world and would have made millions performing in other countries.

However, Colonel Tom Parker was actually not a legal U.S. citizen and his real name was Andreas van Kuijk.

New Elvis Presley Movie Coming

While the Wayne and Presley film never happened, there is currently a new movie about Elvis Presley’s life coming out in 2022. Baz Luhrmann is directing the biographical drama. Austin Butler is playing Elvis Presley while Tom Hanks is playing Colonel Tom Parker.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hanks had dinner with Priscilla Presley to get a better idea of the kind of person Parker was. Despite his obsession with money, Priscilla insisted he was a good person deep down.

“I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for ‘Colonel Tom’ Parker over these many years. And she said, ‘No. He was a wonderful man, and I wish he was alive today … took really great care of us. He was a scoundrel in his way,'” Hanks said about their meeting on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”