EW Staff
January 17, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

What happens when you put out an open call for the King of Rock & Roll? ”There were lines outside of CBS that started forming at like one in the morning,” says Elvis producer Robert Greenblatt of his day amid heavy hair product and gold lamé suits. ”Even though we kept saying ‘We’re looking for the 20- to 30-year-old Elvis,’ it was this bizarre collection of people. An Asian woman came in who had learned the lyrics to ‘Love Me Tender’ phonetically. It was a fun, eye-opening zoo of a day.” Ultimately, the four-hour miniseries ended up casting Bend It Like Beckham‘s Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who — guess what? — wasn’t even at that open call. But wait! Can an Irishman play the King? ”Look at [Australian] Judy Davis playing Judy Garland. Could you imagine anyone better?” responds Greenblatt. ”Sometimes these people from outside of our land can bring a kind of freshness.” Still — we’re talking about capturing an enormous American icon here. Not an easy task. ”We did the right things,” says Greenblatt. ”We got the estate involved, we have the master recordings. And I think we’ve captured his essence. I think we’ll do it justice.” Fifty million Elvis fans will let him know if he’s wrong.

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