HOLLYWOOD

Eric Bana

By Tony Rizzo
Elvis Presley once offered President Richard Nixon his services as a federal agent-at-large in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. How’s that for irony? Elvis met with Nixon in the White House hoping to be an undercover Fed, while Nixon wanted Elvis to help his image with young people. That meeting was the basis of a ’97 Showtime telepic.

Now Cary Elwes, who starred in “The Princess Bride,” has written a screenplay with Joey and Hanala Sagal, which he will direct. Elwes cast Eric Bana (“Hulk,” “Troy,” “Munich” and “Star Trek,” to name a few) as Elvis, and Danny Huston (“Avatar,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), the half-brother of Oscar-winner Angelica Huston, to play Nixon. It will be shot in Los Angeles and Shreveport, La. The film comes on the heels of the award-winning movie “Frost/Nixon” directed by Ron Howard.

Elvis was as American as apple pie, yet Eric Bana is Australian, and when “The Tudors” Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (an Irishman) played him, he won a Golden Globe Award for his Elvis mini-series in 2005. British and Australian actors seem to have a handle on Southern accents. English actress Vivian Leigh won an Oscar for playing the greatest Southern belle of all time, Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.”
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Ryan Gosling, one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, starred in “The Notebook,” “Half Nelson” (for which he was Oscar nominated), “Lars and the Real Girl,” “Blue Valentine,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” “Drive” and “The Ides Of March.” Whew! His next two films are “Gangster Squad” with Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte, and “The Place Beyond the Pines” with Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper. Pretty good for a kid from Ontario, Canada, who started on “The Mickey Mouse Club” with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Oh yes, and all this before his 30th birthday (Nov. 12).

Another Canadian, from Vancouver, B.C, is Ryan Reynolds. You don’t really believe all that stuff in the tabloids about him and Sandra Bullock, do you? Can’t a man and a woman just be friends? Ryan’s next two films are “Safe House” with Denzel Washington, shooting in Cape Town, South Africa, and set for release in February, and “R.I.P.D.” (based on the comic book “Rest in Peace Department”) with Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon, due out in June 2013. By the way, have you heard that Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock have been secretly dating for two years — ever since they made “The Proposal” — even though they were both married at the time. If you believe that, there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you!

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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