'Hippies and radicals' | 

New Elvis epic movie under fire for ‘bizarre’ IRA reference

““Have a word with the scriptwriter. Imagine the IRA sitting on the Falls talking about planning a hit on Elvis.”

Austin Butler as Elvis

Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis

Aaron TinneySunday World

THE new Oscar-tipped Elvis film is at the centre of an explosive IRA row – with film fans branding the mention of the terrorists “bizarre”.

Baz Luhrmann’s epic about the King is under fire for including a bizarre line saying the singer was at risk of being assassinated or blown up in a plane by Provos, during his iconic final Las Vegas residency.

The film sees Elvis’ creepy manager Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, howl that the IRA are out to kill him.

Baz’s movie presents the warning as part of the infamously controlling Colonel’s exploitation of the singer.

The Colonel refused to let Elvis tour abroad, leaving him doomed to play an unending cash-cow Vegas residency to service the Colonel’s gambling addiction before dying on the bog at Graceland a bloated burger, booze and drug-filled wreck.

Tom Parker – aka Dutchman Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk – is seen screaming about Elvis’ desire to go on tour outside America: “Overseas? Have you thought about security?

“This is Elvis Presley – the most famous man on the planet.

“The crazies in the those countries are 100 times more dangerous. Am I the only one who cares about Elvis’ security?”

His speech is interrupted by a montage of Elvis picking up a death threat card outside his Vegas hotel room marked with a gun target.

And after kicking a crazed fan offstage – who the Colonel admits was a nutter “from Peru” – Elvis is seen laid up in bed with tinfoil covering his windows.

In an apparent reference to the IRA claiming it planted a bomb on a 1974 British Airways flight, the Colonel continues to rant while reading a newspaper: “What has happened to law and order in this country? Hippies and radicals trying to kill entertainers?

“The IRA trying to blow up engine planes? Exploding in mid-air? What is this?”

Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis

He is later seen chucking a glass at a wall as he screams: “Does no one care about security but me?”

The Colonel doesn’t mention any other terror group as a threat to Elvis in Sin City.

Droves of film fans have flooded social media to ridicule the mention in the flick, made for £70 million and which so far grossed £209 million at the box office.

One said: “That new Elvis film isn’t great, it’s not bad either – 7/10. Would have given it eight only for it mentioning the IRA.”


Another joked Elvis was “obviously” in no danger from Provos as he was “obviously a RA man.”

Others took it more seriously, with one saying: “This was the ’70s. The IRA had better things to do than worry about taking out Elvis.”

Another raged: “Typical Yanks, dragging the IRA into a speech about assassinations – bit like mention of the IRA in Die Hard. Just bizarre, and a bit xenophobic.”

One said: “Have a word with the scriptwriter. Imagine the IRA sitting on the Falls talking about planning a hit on Elvis. LOLZ.”

In 1974 admitted it planted an unprimed bomb aboard a British Airways jet to prove it could breach airport security. It warned that in the future bombs would be set to explode.

The 2lb gelignite bomb was placed on a Belfast to London flight but was not meant to explode, the terror group said.

It was not known whether the explosive, stashed in the upholstery of a passenger seat, was placed there at Belfast Airport or earlier in London.

The British Airways plane, carrying 85 passengers including James Flanagan, Northern Ireland’s then-chief of police, made an emergency landing at Manchester after the pilot was told of the bomb warning.

Baz Luhrmann’s film is packed with other references to high-profile assassinations including the shootings of JFK in 1963, when Elvis was 28, and the gunning down of JFK’s brother Robert five years later when the King was aged 33.

Elvis died in 1977 aged 42, three years before John Lennon was assassinated in New York.

In the final year of his life, Elvis played seven years of residency shows in Las Vegas where he sang his heart out for the last time.

The Colonel’s safety warnings got under the Suspicious Minds crooner’s skin as he once vowed he would shoot first when he received serious kidnap and death threats during a show at Las Vegas.

Elvis’ love of guns was well-known and he amassed a large collection to go with his ever-growing array of state police and federal agent badges. He also famously liked to occasionally shoot the televisions at Graceland.

But during a terrifying time at Las Vegas, The King went on stage armed and ready to fire with FBI agents hidden throughout the crowd.

Biographer Chris Hutchins was in Vegas at the time, working with Tom Jones, when Elvis’ life was threatened during his residency at the Hilton Hotel.

He said: “An anonymous phone caller had warned of a plot to kidnap him. The FBI had barely had time to react before a second call was made to (Elvis’ manager) Colonel Parker as I was visiting him in his office at the Hilton.

“As he put the receiver down, he told me the caller had advised him to treat the kidnapping as a matter of urgency, but he was clearly not easily panicked. After alerting the FBI to the renewed threat, he calmly persuaded me into the casino to try our luck on the tables.

“Soon afterwards, a third warning came, this time claiming Elvis would be shot on stage.”

Chris never mentions there was a threat from the IRA – and the FBI are said to have none on file.

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