'Virtual' Elvis Presley heading out on tour

Elvis Presley is heading out on tour - in virtual form.  Photo / Supplied
Elvis Presley is heading out on tour - in virtual form. Photo / Supplied

An Oscar-winning US firm is to create a "virtual" Elvis Presley to bring the King of Rock and Roll back to life for today's music audiences.

Digital Domain Media Group, which helped late rapper Tupac Shakur rise from the grave in an eye-popping music festival performance recently, has signed a deal to resurrect the swivel-hipped music icon.

"This is a new and exciting way to bring the magic and music of Elvis Presley to life," said Jack Soden, head of Elvis Presley Enterprises, a division of Core Media Group which signed the deal.

"His lifelong fans will be thrilled all over again and new audiences will discover the electric experience of Elvis the performer," he added in a statement.

DDMG and Core Media Group will produce "a series of 'virtual' Elvis Presley likenesses for a range of entertainment projects - from shows and appearances to film, TV and multi-platform productions throughout the world," they said.

The vividly life-like Shakur hologram performance, in which the late rapper appeared to rise from the stage, shocked fans at the Coachella music and arts festival in Indio, California in April.

The spectacular digital 3D display triggered speculation about whether any number of dead celebrities can be brought back to life, whether for shows or other events.

DDMG boss John Textor called Presley "the most recognised performer on the planet," adding: "We are thrilled to have been chosen to bring new performances and original shows where fans can have their own, new experiences of Elvis."

"In addition to being a dream project on the creative side, this agreement enables us to participate in the success of any number of potential virtual Elvis appearances."

Presley, who died in 1977, is a music icon on the scale of Michael Jackson, but the length of time since his death means that younger generations never saw him live, and only know him from films, videos and songs.

The singer shot to fame with "Blue Suede Shoes" on his first studio album "Elvis Presley" in 1954, selling more than a billion albums since then, and continues to out-earn many other living celebrities.

DDMG, based in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, was founded in 1993 and has contributed to more than 90 films, including Titanic, the Transformers series, Real Steel and Tron: Legacy.

The digital production company, its work and employees have won numerous awards including seven from Oscars organisers the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, according to its website.

Watch footage of Tupac performing at Coachella:

- AFP

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