Director Thom Zimney shares his thoughts on where the artist ended and the legend began, and his favorite discovery making the documentary.
1. Priscilla was the key to the doc’s title.
“’Elvis was a searcher’ is something Priscilla Presley said in an interview, and (executive producer) Jon Landau picked up on it while working in the edit room. We felt it really exemplified Elvis’ musical exploration, where he’s pulling from all different influences to create his own sound. It was a theme we found ourselves returning to again and again in our discussions, so it just felt right for ‘The Searcher’ to become the title.”
2. There’s material from both Mrs. Presley’s.
“My favorite discovery was a home recording of Gladys Presley singing that’s never been heard before. Within the interviews it was all the small, personal details Priscilla shared about Elvis.”
3. It’s impossible to choose just one favorite Elvis song.
“’Trouble’ was the first Elvis song I became obsessed with, as a child listening on my record player. ‘Tomorrow Is a Long Time’ is the song I discovered while making the film.”
4. You’ll stay with Elvis throughout.
“I wanted to keep the film firmly in the world of Elvis. I felt as soon as you cut to a contemporary talking-head interview, it takes the viewer from him. With only the voices, it gives the film a dream-like quality. You’re completely absorbed in the footage and the photographs, and Elvis’ music.”
5. Legends aren’t born. They’re made.
“As soon as you move away from his music, and start talking about his movies, his costumes his personal life – that’s where the image and the legend takes over. Elvis was, first a musical artist, and I think that gets lost amongst all the other details. This film tries to return to the artist.”