Hallmark’s Wes Brown Shares Secrets He Learned About Elvis While Filming Wedding at Graceland
Learn what Priscilla Presley shared with Wes Brown that you won't find in books about Elvis.
Last year, Christmas at Graceland, starring Kellie Pickler and Wes Brown, was Hallmark Channel's most watched movie for all of 2018. Fans loved watching Laurel and Clay fall back in love, all within the walls of Elvis Presley's Graceland. This was the first production ever allowed to film within the walls of the King's home. This look behind the velvet curtain had viewers and the cast, all shook up and now the whole cast is coming back. Laurel and Clay are getting married in Wedding at Graceland premiering on Hallmark Channel June 1.
Getting a sequel meant that the entire cast returned to Memphis and had even more behind the scenes access to Graceland. Brown recognizes how special it was to be allowed to film in this hallowed space. "That's whole treat in itself. Being able to do something that no one's ever done before, getting to do all these things that you can't pay any amount of money to be able to do that. So, we definitely don't take it for granted and we're just very appreciative that all of these fans were so supportive over the first film that we do get to come back and experience a place like this, with this cast," he told Southern Living.
Brown, who is also a musician, and it would be hard to not notice, shares a lot of the same physical attributes of a young Elvis Presley, already knew a good deal about the music icon when he started the first film. But he was intrigued by the rarely told stories known only by those people who surrounded Elvis. Brown got the ultimate inside knowledge straight from the lady of the house, Priscilla Presley. She makes a special appearance in Wedding at Graceland.
"I remember when Priscilla joined us for one of the days of filming, she pointed out a spot behind the barn…she said that it was there, she treasured that time because one-o'clock, two-o'clock in the morning, they would go out there and comb the horses and that was their alone time. Their peaceful time. There was nobody, no questions, no fans, no anything. So, I was like, well when would I ever learn that?"
He also recalled walking through the museum with Priscilla. "I watched her watching the home video of her cutting Elvis's cake. And so, I just leaned over to her and I said, ‘was it delicious?' And she goes, ‘it was so delicious.' And I said, ‘what was it?' She said, ‘it was just chocolate cake.' And so, she told me where she got it from, what she did with it. So, I wanted to learn more about her instead of him. We learned a lot about him. So, I kind of wanted to ask her questions about who she was…She's every bit a huge part of music history."
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Beyond Elvis, Memphis is a city rich with musical history and Brown found himself engrossed by it. "All of us, we really have a love for Memphis now. We've really gotten to explore the city… We've heard some fantastic music on Beale Street. I'm from outside of New Orleans. I grew up in Baton Rouge and It reminds me of Bourbon Street in the sense that yes, I can see how it can get real, real, touristy but man they have some real deal musicians on there." He also tipped his hat to the food scene in Memphis that is ever-evolving. "Shout out to Catherine & Mary's. That place is really great," he said.
Speaking with Brown, it is apparent that he truly embraces the experiences his career has afforded him. He immersed himself in the Bluff City like a local, taking full advantage of his two short stints as a resident. But beyond that carpe diem attitude, there is also a visible sense of gratitude and acknowledgement that a successful career in entertainment does not come easily or to all who desire it.
"At first, every actor just wants a job. And then after you get a job and you start working, what you hope for is a home. Whether that be at a network, at a studio. The fact that I get to land at this network and call it home is extremely special."
He acknowledges that his continued employment with Hallmark is a direct result of the devoted fan base the network holds. "I got to meet so many fans and learn really how broad the network is and how many people it touches from young to old, its huge. I didn't give it enough credit to how big it is and to how much it means to people too… the fans are as passionate about these movies as we are making them."