Elvis Presley: Why Kurt Russell Kicked Him in the Shin

Elvis Presley crossed paths with a lot of celebrities over the years — and one even kicked him in the shin. Kurt Russell kicked the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll for a very specific reason. Later on, Russells’ connection to Elvis would become much more significant.

Elvis Presley with a guitar
Elvis Presley | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Kurt Russell was there when Elvis Presley’s fans got out of control

Firstly, a little background. Today, Russell is known for his roles in movies like The Thing, The Hateful Eight, Escape from New York, and Sky High. However, he began his career as a child actor. If you scan the credits while watching TV Land, you’ll find that he appeared in episodes of classic shows like Gilligan’s Island, Dennis the Menace, and The Dick Powell Show.

According to GQ, Russell’s first role was in a movie called It Happened at the World’s Fair. It Happened at the World’s Fair might be totally forgotten today if it weren’t for its star: Elvis. Russell appeared in the film in a brief but memorable role.

Kurt Russell on The Graham Norton Show

In the film, Elvis’ character wants to meet a nurse. As an excuse, he wants to get injured. Thus, he asks a child played by Russell to kick him in the shin. During an interview on The Graham Norton Show, Russell said he kicked the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll a little too hard. Russell realized Elvis was incredibly famous when two or three thousand women showed up to the set of the film in an attempt to try to get to his car.

How Kurt Russell figured out how to play Elvis Presley

Russell’s connection to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t end there. According to Closer Weekly, he played the title role in John Carpenter’s miniseries Elvis. “I was in this position where I was going to play a part that I was going to flame out on — which was fine by me — or do something that’s going to work. I kind of asked for mercy from John and said, ‘I’d like to be able to get to a place with you where we could have an ability to speak really quickly with each other in a short way, ‘cause I have to do this.’ He said, ‘I totally get it.’ In about a day and a half, I looked at him and he’d say, ‘A little more Elvis, a little less Elvis.’ I needed it to be that simple.”

Kurt Russell playing Elvis Presley

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The major effect the miniseries had on him

Russell said he and Carpenter learned to work together while making the miniseries. Russell would go on to appear in a number of Carpenter’s films, including The Thing, Escape from New York, Escape from L.A., Big Trouble in Little China. In addition, Russell told Graham Norton the miniseries Elvis was the film that established him as a movie star when he was an adult. Russell is one of many celebrities whose career wouldn’t be the same without Elvis.