Priscilla Presley’s Emotional Reaction to Sofia Coppola’s New Elvis Film

Priscilla Presley The story of her life with the rock star lacks major musical moments because the singer’s estate wouldn’t support the warts-and-all treatment.

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Priscilla Presley You might not think there’s a need for two major Elvis Presley films in quick succession, but it’s difficult to imagine a pair of directors with sensibilities as dissimilar as Sofia Coppola and Baz Luhrmann, who arrived at the Venice Film Festival on Monday to premiere “Priscilla,” a film about Priscilla Presley’s troubled marriage to her famous beau, and who directed “Elvis” (2022).

A maestro of shock-and-awe extravaganza, Luhrmann is a maximalist whose work is filled with confetti in every new frame. While Luhrmann’s settings may be as opulent as those of Coppola, the young women she discovers living in these golden cages are a party of one and yearning for genuine connection.

Coppola has examined that emotion in films like “Lost in Translation” (2003) and “Marie Antoinette” (2006), and in “Priscilla Presley,” the director is most preoccupied. Upon being questioned about her recurring depictions of girlhood, Coppola quipped, “I don’t know why I keep coming back to it,” at a news conference on Monday. I’m hoping to mature soon.

Coppola’s film, which is based on the memoir “Elvis and Me,” begins when Elvis, who is serving in the military and has been sent to Germany, meets Priscilla Presley, the daughter of a military officer who has just been posted there. She longs for the life she left behind in the US and is lonely and homesick. Elvis discovers he can empathize despite being a superstar.

The movie is open about the fact that Priscilla Presley is 14 as well. Third grade? The 24-year-old Elvis says, “You’re just a baby,” but their age gap scarcely deters him from pursuing her: He sometimes even appears to value Priscilla’s virginity as her most important quality. “Promise me you’ll stay the way you are,” he says as he starts to completely upend the poor girl’s life, bringing her to Graceland from Germany, dousing her in sedatives and amphetamines, and demanding that she keep their long-term relationship a secret even as he is openly pictured in passionate clinches with celebrities like Nancy Sinatra and Ann-Margret.

Priscilla Presley has everything she thought she could ever want, yet she still feels deficient, just like our young protagonist in “Marie Antoinette,” who is thrust into a life of wealth and discovers it to be dreadfully lonely. The celebrity she found so appealing is frequently cruel and deceptive, telling her what to wear and how to behave, and constantly reassuring her that millions other women would be glad to take her place if she objected. Since Elvis wants her to only wear solid colors, Priscilla has to get inventive in order to make her point. Every time he does something upsetting, she responds by donning a striking design.

In the movie, Priscilla is sympathetically portrayed by upcoming actress Cailee Spaeny, while Elvis is represented by “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi a year after Austin Butler’s uncanny impersonation made him famous. Elordi performs admirably, although Coppola’s lack of enthusiasm for producing extravagant musical performances helps: When we do catch a sight of Elordi’s Elvis in mid-song, he is invariably captured from behind the camera. This artistic decision deftly steers “Priscilla” away from Luhrmann’s picture, which focused considerably more on Elvis the performer, and solidifies the focus of the story on Priscilla Presley’s viewpoint. All it truly means if he goes onstage is that he’s leaving her behind.

The lack of significant musical segments in the film may also be a result of Presley’s estate’s refusal to lend its support or provide permission for the use of his songbook. I am not shocked. The singer was depicted in Luhrmann’s hagiography, which received estate approval, as the hapless tool of his avaricious manager, Col. Tom Parker. “Priscilla” demonstrates Elvis’ own capacity for deception. It’s an honest description of a captivating man who drew a little girl into his orbit and then refused to let her go—this is not a puff article.

Despite coming to the news conference in Venice to support the movie, Priscilla Presley sat in the first row of the audience rather than joining Coppola and her cast on the dais. But Presley herself took the microphone when a reporter asked what touched her most about “Priscilla.”

It’s incredibly challenging to watch a movie about you, your life, and your love, she remarked. “Sofia did a wonderful job. She completed her homework.

Presley remarked that the ending was the part that affected her the most. Just after their marriage breaks down, Priscilla Presley finds the strength to stand by herself for the first time.

Yes, I did leave, but not because I didn’t care about him, Presley admitted. The love of my life was him. I found the lifestyle to be particularly challenging, and I believe it applies to all women.

Beyonce is shown in a rare photo by Tina Knowles with her three children Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir.
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