A Newton man who could lay claim to the title of the world’s biggest Elvis Presley fan has given his approval to a new film dramatizing the singer’s life.
“Elvis,” starring Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as Elvis’ manager Col. Tom Parker, is not scheduled for release until Friday. However, David Powell was able to get special access to see the film earlier this week.
His rating is positive. Powell praised the performances of Butler and Hanks and said he and his wife Helen cried at the end of the film at a scene where Elvis is about to die.
“My wife looked at me and whispered in my ear, ‘David, six weeks after that we lost Elvis,'” Powell said. “I said, ‘I know that.’ I don’t want to be a spoiler, but many fans out there will see what I’m talking about.”
He said the film will satisfy hardcore fans and provide a good introduction for those unfamiliar with Elvis.
Powell himself certainly fits into the hardcore fan category. It’s been like this ever since Powell, now 53, was 5 and Elvis on TV in the movie Girls! Girl! Girl!”
He recalled that Elvis’ presence was so strong that his aunt stopped while she was carrying laundry.
From then on, Elvis was a big part of Powell’s life. He calls Elvis a unique character and compares his status to that of Dale Earnhardt and Michael Jordan.
Powell speaks excitedly about meeting a variety of figures associated with the musician, from manager Parker to daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
He has amassed a sizeable Elvis collection including an autograph with a certificate of authenticity. Powell said he has spoken to management at AMC Theater in Hickory and plans to have some of his memorabilia on display at the theater for at least a portion of the film.
His passion has earned him the nickname “Elvis” from classmates when he was at school, from colleagues in Coca-Cola sales where he once worked, and from people at the local restaurants he frequents.
He even holds up a piece of paper showing former Gov. Pat McCrory’s autograph made out to “Elvis” Powell.
When people find out about his love for Elvis, they often bring up their own personal connections to the singer.
“People I’ve met always say, ‘Well, my grandmother liked Elvis,'” Powell said. “I bet you I’ve heard that a thousand times.”