Writer-director Sofia Coppola adapts Priscilla Presley’s autobiography “Elvis and Me” for her A24 film “Priscilla,” starring Cailee Spaeny as the American icon alongside Jacob Elordi as Elvis.
“Priscilla” follows the eponymous heroine from meeting Elvis as a teenager to eventually leaving him and Graceland behind. The film marks Coppola’s third feature with A24 following “On the Rocks” and “The Bling Ring.” Coppola reunites with collaborators like cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd, costume designer Stacey Battat, editor Sarah Flack, and production designer Tamara Deverell for the period piece. The film charts 14 years in Priscilla’s life, starting at age 14 when she met 24-year-old Elvis.
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where Spaeny won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress, and is set to screen as the Centerpiece feature at the New York Film Festival.
Director Coppola has opened up about how she could relate to Priscilla’s coming-of-age in the public eye. The “Virgin Suicides” filmmaker further compared “Priscilla” to her 2006 film “Marie Antoinette,” calling Priscilla herself a “quintessential glamour icon” of Americana style.
“I was just so interested in Priscilla’s story and her perspective on what it all felt like to grow up as a teenager in Graceland,” Coppola told Vogue. “She was going through all the stages of young womanhood in such an amplified world — kind of similarly to Marie Antoinette.”
The “Priscilla” soundtrack features Phoenix covers of classic Elvis songs, as the official Presley estate turned down licensing the original tracks. Coppola noted that she reached out to Elvis Presley Enterprises, which is majority-owned by Authentic Brands Group at 85 percent, with the Presley family owning the other 15 percent. Coppola’s husband and Phoenix band frontman Thomas Mars instead will sing Elvis songs.
Presley herself got emotional during the film’s Venice Film Festival press conference when asked what moved her most about the film.
“It’s very difficult to sit and watch a film about you, and about your life, about your love,” she said. “Sofia did an amazing job. She did her homework. We spoke a couple of times, and I really put everything out for her that I could (…) It was very difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me, and why. I was more of a listener. Elvis would pour his heart out to me in every way, in Germany, his fears, his hopes, the loss of his mother, which he never, ever got over. I was the person who really, really sat there to listen and to comfort him. That was really our connection, even though I was 14.”
“Priscilla” premieres November 3 in theaters. Check out the trailer below.