Christmas at Graceland: Kellie Pickler Discovers the Holiday Blues at the Home of the King

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11 November 2018


By Kellie Freeze

On Saturday, Nov. 17, country superstar Kellie Pickler makes her acting debut in Hallmark Channel’s holiday film Christmas at Graceland. The film not only features holiday music made famous by Elvis Presley, but was also filmed on location at Graceland and around the city of Memphis, Tenn.

Pickler stars as Laurel, a busy exec who returns to her hometown for work and rediscovers her love of the blues. “Laurel is a bank executive, and she was coming to Memphis to close a deal. And while there, she’s showing her young daughter Graceland and Memphis for the first time,” explains Pickler. “She gets back to her roots, and she bumps into an old flame [Wes Brown] who helps get her feet on solid ground and find her way back to music.”

Pickler sings multiple holiday songs in the film and was gifted the opportunity to re-record six holiday songs made famous by Elvis, including “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me),” “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Blue Christmas.” Pickler knows she has big, blue suede shoes to fill and marvels, “No one could ever fill those shoes, but it was an honor to just be able to go into the studio and record these classic songs.”

Christmas at Graceland is the first time that Elvis’ legendary home has hosted a film shoot, and Pickler relished the opportunity to step behind the velvet ropes. “Every room has a story to tell,” says Pickler. While scenes take place all over the iconic mansion, they mostly filmed in the grand living room area — the peacock room. The film takes advantage of Graceland’s already magnificent holiday decorations — including blue lights that Presley’s father installed along the sweeping driveway — plus adds a sprinkle of Hallmark’s signature holiday magic.

For Pickler, one of the highlights of her time at Graceland was getting to know Elvis. She shares, “I was just so humbled to be there and go around his home and his property and learn more about his story, and discover the roots of who he was as a person. I got to know the human versus the superstar.

“I know how loyal Elvis’ fans are, and I hope that I make them proud by honoring his music,” she says. Singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in the film is especially emotional because of her strong connection to the USO. “I always think of soldiers overseas when I sing that song,” she shares, and reveals that while shooting Christmas at Graceland, she learned more about Presley’s time in the Army. “I was so enamored by Elvis’ story and his military experience,” she says. “I have an even greater appreciation for everything that he did.”
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