Nearly two months after the sudden death of her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on Jan. 12., Priscilla Presley made her first public appearance on Tuesday for a special screening and conversation around her new Netflix series Agent Elvis.
Presley, who co-created and voices herself in the adult animated comedy, took part in a Q&A alongside fellow co-creator John Eddie and showrunner Mike Arnold at Netflix’s Tudum Theater. The series, which sees Matthew McConaughey take over as the King of Rock and Roll, also features a voice cast of Kaitlin Olson, Johnny Knoxville, Niecy Nash, Tom Kenny and Don Cheadle. It follows Elvis as he is inducted into a secret government spy program to battle dark forces threatening America.
Eddie said the show was inspired by the famous photo of Elvis with Richard Nixon, where he offered his services to be a DEA agent, as well as speeches he made about dreaming of being a comic book hero.
“That was why we made it, as opposed to doing a live-action thing or something, we specifically want to do animated,” Eddie explained, and “also because, all due respect, Austin Butler did an amazing job and other people have done. I’ve been a big Elvis fan since I was a little kid and even as great as anybody does it, they can never capture Elvis’ [appearance]. He was such a beautiful man, he’s just crazy, and so we thought maybe through animation” that similarity would be possible.
Presley said she wanted to do the show as a way of “introducing Elvis to the youth today, wondering why he was so famous and to see him as a hero.”
“I know that this is a dream come true for Elvis because this is really what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a federal agent, and for me, I’ve always wanted to give Elvis what he wanted and never really quite made it,” she continued. “He was a beautiful human being and a very talented human being, and I want kids to see who he really was in this because he really was, he wanted to be an agent. And now he is.”
Presley also explained that McConaughey was the right choice to play the rock star because “he’s got a great voice, a great voice. He’s got that Southern voice and deep voice.” They discussed other actors but kept coming back to him for his Southern drawl, which Presley said Elvis had “when he would get back to Memphis. He’d pick it all up at once. Back here in California, he tried to talk Californian.”
The show, which comes from Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures TV and Authentic Brands Group, also pulls from real moments of Elvis’ life, like his pet chimpanzee Scatter who is featured in the series.
“Scatter did all those things. Scatter escaped. Scatter went into Bel Air and people’s windows and scared them to death. The police [came] in on Scatter all the time because he would escape,” Presley remembered. “I was there when that happened. We had a place in Bel Air, and yeah, he escaped a lot. And the neighbors just wanted us to get rid of him.”
Agent Elvis starts streaming on Netflix March 17.