Elvis Costello in the movies
Wall Of Sound, 1999-06-11
- Gary Graff


Elvis Costello and the Silver Screen

No one's confusing him with Hugh Grant — or even Mike Myers — these days, but Elvis Costello is making his presence felt on the big screen, even as he tours North America with keyboardist Steve Nieve. Costello has a significant musical role in two new films: the Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts blockbuster Notting Hill, in which he sings Charles Aznavour's "She" over the opening and closing credits; and in the blockbuster-to-be Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, in which he appears onscreen with Burt Bacharach, serenading lovebirds Mike Myers and Heather Graham with "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."

Costello says both were new and wondrous experiences — though he was concerned that French audiences might be offended by his stepping into Aznavour's well-heeled shoes. "I believe when they ran the film originally, they put in Charles Aznavour's version and they screened it in America and nobody could understand him because of his accent," Costello says. "It would seem to be a shame, because it's a beautiful record, but it was lucky for me because they said, 'Maybe we should re-cut it with someone singing in an English accent. But I figure they'll burn me at the stake in the center of Paris, knowing them."

There are no such worries involving Austin Powers, however; it was just a simple romp through a mocked-up set depicting Carnaby Street, circa 1969. "It was great fun," Costello says. "When you get to go on a movie set for one day, you get pretty spoiled because everybody treats you like royalty, like a special guest. And there's Mike doing all these funny dances and Heather looking like a doll and Burt having a great time playing the piano, and the director saying, 'Can you follow them while you're singing?' It's not all that hard to do, is it?"

In fact, the hardest part for Costello may have been going to his first movie premieres — first for Notting Hill, which several other artists from the film's soundtrack also attended. "It's exactly like it is in that movie, all flashbulbs and everything," he says. "You get dressed up and all of a sudden they're saying things like, 'Can you put your arm around Shania [Twain] while they take this picture?' and I say 'Well, I've never met her before.' It's a bit strange, but it was great. It was a good party." — Gary Graff

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