Behind the Screen

Updated September 4

The following features interesting trivia and stories about the productions and actors of older and current films. Titles are chosen arbitrarily. This page will be updated every other Tuesday.
Note: As always..Spoiler Alerts



3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

R (2 hr, 5 min) Director - Demian Lichtenstein


3000 Miles to Graceland is a 2001 action adventure crime film directed, co-produced by Damien Lichtenstein. The script was written by Richard Recco and Demien Lichtenstein. It stars Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner with supporting roles Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine, Christian Slater, and Kevin Pollak. It is a story of theft and betrayal, revolving around a plot to rob the Riviera Casino during a convention of Elvis impersonators.



Basic Plot:

It was an ingenious enough plan: rob the Riviera Casino's count room during an Elvis impersonator convention. But Thomas Murphy decided to keep all the money for himself and shot all his partners, including recently-freed ex-con Michael Zane. With $3.2 million at stake, the Marshals Service closing in, and single mom Cybil Waingrow and her son Jesse constantly confounding things, Michael must track down Murphy.



Prior to the film's opening, Warner Brothers released a series of animated prequels voiced by the Elvis impersonators from the movie. "The Road to Graceland" prequels marked the first time a major film's cast members contributed their talents to the creation of original Internet content for a film website. The animated shorts also revealed that Michael Zane (Kurt Russell) was in fact the other man who's DNA test as Elvis Presley's son proved inconclusive.


animated prequels

The film's title is a reference to Elvis Presley's residence, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee. While attempting to capture Thomas J. Murphy, the U.S. Marshals (correctly) believe he is attempting to cross the border into Canada somewhere through Washington/Idaho/Montana, a distance which (as stated by U.S. Marshal Quigley) is "3000 miles to Graceland." Michael also seeks to escape by crossing the border into Canada through Washington.

3000 Miles to Graceland received mostly negative reviews by critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 14% of critics gave the film a positive review based on a sample of 96 reviews, with an average score of 3.5/10.



The film was a box office bomb. It opened at #3 at the North American box office, earning USD$7,160,521 in its opening weekend behind Down to Earth and Hannibal. It later ultimately grossed just over $18 million domestically, well below its $62 million budget. The film eventually became profitable because of its strong international numbers and DVD sales.

The film was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Costner), Worst Supporting Actress (Cox), Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple (Russell and either Costner or Cox) but failed to win any of those categories. The film was also nominated for five Stinkers Bad Movie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Costner), Worst Supporting Actress, Most Annoying Fake Accent - Female (Cox), and Most Annoying On-Screen Group (The Elvis Impersonators) but failed to win any of those categories.



The film's soundtrack consists of 14 tracks; released by TVT Records on February 20, 2001.



When the film finished shooting, Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell disagreed about the way the film should feel. The studio let both stars edit their own versions which were then shown to test audiences. Russell's cut was more comedy oriented and focused on his character's relationship with Cybil (Courteney Cox) while Costner's was more action oriented.

At the beginning, when Michael catches Jesse stealing from his car, Jesse kicks Michael in the shin, just as Kurt Russell did to the real Elvis Presley in It Happened at the World's Fair (1963). Kurt Russell made one of his early screen appearances in the Elvis Presley movie It Happened at the World's Fair (1963) and later played Elvis in a television movie directed by John Carpenter (Elvis (1979)). He also did the voice of young Elvis in Forrest Gump (1994).



Throughout the movie, Kurt Russell's character is seen wearing a necklace. The necklace is "TCB" with a lightning bolt. "TCB" stands for "taking care of business" and the lightning bolt stands for Flash. "Taking Care of Business in a Flash" was Elvis' slogan He had similar necklaces made, and gave them to his inner crowd.



Kurt Russell received top billing over Kevin Costner. This matches their portrayals of Wyatt Earp as well, due to the fact that Russell starred as the famous lawman in Tombstone (1993) and Costner starred as the famous lawman in Wyatt Earp (1994).


The Earps

The gas station that explodes, is at Eldorado Canyon, approximately 55 miles from Las Vegas, and the site of a (now unused) gold mine. The plane used as a canopy over the pumps, is an original 60's vintage Grumman OV-1 Mohawk attack aircraft and is still there at the side of the road as of August 2013. The gold mine is a tourist attraction.

Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.

The head of the studio behind the picture, Elie Samaha, was successfully sued by his German finance partner, Barry Baeres, in 2004 for fraudulently "padding" the budgets of the films he was producing. Baeres company, Intertainment, was paying a percentage for the films, based on the budgets. It is believed, due to Samaha's deception, that Baeres may have paid one hundred million dollars more than he had to. The lawsuit ended up causing the closure of Franchise Pictures.


Franchise Pictures

Courtney Cox and David Arquette were then husband and wife.



Film debut of Kelly Carlson.



Long before Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner starred in this film together, Ron Shelton had written the role of Crash Davis in Bull Durham (1988) for Russell, but Orion preferred Costner, who they felt was a more bankable star and one who had good standing with the studio, for the role. Russell later replaced Costner for the role of Ace Woody in Django Unchained (2012), but Quentin Tarantino excised the part when Russell left the production.


Bull Durham

During the casino heist near the beginning of the movie, Kurt Russell is wearing a white Elvis Presley suit, while Kevin Costner is wearing a black Elvis suit. This foreshadows the good vs. evil relationship that Michael Zane (Russell) and Murphy (Costner) will have later in the movie.

Body count: 44, nearly all of whom are killed by Murphy. Many scenes were edited due to extreme violence.


Kurt Russell as Michael Zane
Kevin Costner as Thomas J. Murphy
Courteney Cox as Cybil Waingrow
Christian Slater as Hanson
Kevin Pollak as U.S. Marshal Damitry
David Arquette as Gus
Jon Lovitz as Jay Peterson
Howie Long as Jack
Thomas Haden Church as U.S. Marshal Quigley
Bokeem Woodbine as Franklin
Ice-T as Hamilton
David Kaye as Jesse Waingrow
Louis Lombardi as Otto Sinclair
Paul Anka as Pit Boss #1
Daisy McCrackin as Mega