Elvis is obviously more renowned for his music than his acting career, but one big project that he turned down could have changed his legacy.
Despite being best known for his work as a musician, Elvis Presley actually appeared in several high-profile movies throughout his career — yet he could’ve made a very different legacy for himself if he hadn’t rejected one specific film in 1976. Presley first rose to fame in the late ‘50s as America’s favorite rock and roll icon before making the bold transition to an acting career several years later. His film work never outshone his music, but he still managed to star in plenty of well-liked projects in his time.
Elvis died at just 42 years old in 1977, leaving an unfinished legacy that many believe should’ve continued for decades. He’d been a music icon for over 20 years by that point, and a Hollywood star for almost as long, but he had never quite found his style as an actor, and it was his music that almost everybody remembers him for. And while Elvis appeared in several great movies throughout his career, there’s one project that he famously turned down in 1976 that could have changed his legacy forever.
Elvis Presley Rejected The Lead Male Role In Barbra Streisand’s A Star Is Born
There have been several versions of A Star is Born made throughout the history of Hollywood, but Barbra Streisand’s 1976 adaptation is one of the more fondly remembered thanks to its mainstream contemporary music appeal. However, the movie was almost totally different, as Elvis Presley was reportedly in talks for the lead male role of John Norman Howard, which was ultimately given to Kris Kristofferson. Although it would have been the perfect part for Elvis, the singer had unofficially retired from acting several years prior, making his final appearance in 1969’s Change of Habit.
How Elvis Presley Playing John In A Star Is Born Would Have Changed His Legacy
Although Barbra Streisand’s remake is arguably the worst of the four versions of A Star is Born, it was a huge hit at the time. There was no guarantee of its success, however, and it would’ve been a huge risk for Elvis Presley to have taken the part of John Norman Howard. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that it could have changed the singer’s legacy forever. It would have likely been Elvis’s final movie, as he died less than a year later, but it still could have helped him finally find the critical acclaim and industry awards that he deserved after such a long and exhaustive acting journey.
The actual narrative of A Star is Born is also very fitting with Elvis Presley’s real-life story, with the lead character John being a successful musician who has given in to substance abuse to deal with his struggles. This personal connection to the story could have been another reason that Elvis was hesitant to take the part, but it’s clear now that this could’ve been the project he’d been searching for in order to finally cement his legacy as a talented actor alongside his being a music icon.