How Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey Became 'Elvis & Nixon'

The actors reveal what they were surprised to learn while researching these roles.
3:14 | 04/27/16

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Transcript for How Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey Became 'Elvis & Nixon'
Now to Kevin spacey and Michael Shannon, the two star as president Nixon and Elvis Presley in "Elvis & Nixon" taking us inside their 1970 meeting. This shot of them is the most requested photo in the national archives and I recently got to sit down with the stars. Here's a look at their new movie. Communists and the left wingers are clinging to one another because they're trying to destroy us, Elvis. I know, sir. Good honest Americans. They hate us. They don't hate us, Elvis. They hate what we stand for. And so happy to have Kevin spacey and Michael Shannon with us this morning. Thank you for being here. Thank you for having us. Had is the untold story of that famous photo. What happened between Elvis and Nixon. One 69 things that drew me to the script is that even though this is based on a real he vent the meeting between them is completely mysterious. There's no document of it. There's no recording of it so a real event and completely imagined event. It had to have been a huge undertaking. I know you're both incredible arcs but to play such larger than life real people. Yeah, I think both Michael and really wanted to approach it in a way that it wasn't like we were going to do impressions of these characters so what I tried to go is just sort of find an essence of what was sort of nixonian and listened to a lot of tapes so I could hear what he was like in private more than what he was like in public. What were your impressions. That he swore like a bat out of hell. Michael, we know all about the Elvis impersonators. What did you learn about him. The thing I was most surprised about was his deeply spiritual nature. You know, I think a lot of types with the impersonations and whatnot it leads you to a very superficial view of Elvis but he was actually a very deep thinker and he read a lot of books that I was surprised to find out he was into. What was it like when the two of you first saw each other in costume? It was -- yeah, it was pretty remarkable. I mean we had to start with the oval office scene. Did you laugh at all. We both didn't want to disrespect these characters and to play them with a certain seriousness but there were a couple of times when we were shooting and Michael would do something that was so brilliantly elvis-like and I didn't expect it at all that I completely lost it and I think there was a couple of types where I did something that was very nixonlike and he lost it so there were a couple of times where we definitely lost it but tried hard to keep a straight face. Kevin, here we are in the oval office again. It seems like you can't get away from playing presidents. What's more fun, playing an actual president or this made up president or do you ever slip? I would be afraid I slipped into that southern drzal. What's interesting, the set we used in our film was the west wing oval office and the set we used in "House of cards" is a completely new oval office we built so actually not the same room and I hope that when people see me in an oval office set in this movie they won't think of frank Underwood and I hope when they see me as frank Underwood they won't think of Nixon. Well, it's an incredible film. Thank you both for stopping by. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. You bet.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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