Hollywood has serious Elvis fever right now. It feels like it was only yesterday that Austin Butler broke the internet with his hip-thrusting portrayal of ‘the King of rock and roll’ in the 2022 biopic Elvis. Well, get ready to re-relive (bloody hell) the 60s fantasy as director Sofia Coppola entices us into her latest project Priscilla—a dramatic film that looks at the life, love, and losses of Priscilla Presley.
The Priscilla biopic was first announced back in September 2022, with Coppola stating that she had plans to direct an adaptation of Presley’s memoir Elvis and Me. Elvis and Priscilla got married in 1967, splitting up in 1973, and their marriage and relationship have been documented extensively ever since.
While there have been countless films and forms of media dedicated to remembering and memorialising Elvis, little has been done to recount and appreciate the life and perspective of his partner. That, however, is now all about to change.
Shortly after the film was announced, netizens began speculating about who would be playing the two primary roles, Elvis and Priscilla. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long. Priscilla is being portrayed by American actress Cailee Spaeny, best known for her performances in Bad Times at the El Royale and On the Basis of Sex.
Elvis will be played by none other than Australian actor Jacob Elordi, a choice that has garnered mixed opinions due to his previous work in all three films within The Kissing Booth franchise. However, perhaps this new role might change audiences’ minds.
Elordi and Spaeny were both recently spotted at the Venice International Film Festival promoting Priscilla, and I think it’s fair to say that netizens were thoroughly shooketh at the pair’s overwhelming presence:
It’s a relatively small film, so given its modest scale, there are no other big names that stand out when looking at the cast list. But hey, that’s not to say that it won’t be amazing regardless.
Yes, Priscilla is an executive producer for the film. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 78-year-old explained: “I’m so nervous because it’s my life. The people who are watching, they’re living it with you, and you hope and pray that they get it. They get your feelings, your hurts, your sensitivity.”
Further speaking about the sensitivity of the project, Priscilla emphasised her trust in Coppola and added: “I just got who she was and I felt that she could get me. I thought, we have different stories, but she could understand this better than any writer because she kind of lived it in her own way.”
Priscilla offers audiences a closer look into the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who meets the love of her life unexpectedly and spends the next 15 years or so beside one of the greatest musicians of all time. It looks deeply into the realities of Priscilla’s daily existence, and, as aptly put by movie critic Glenn Kenny, how Elvis’ tragedy ultimately led to Priscilla’s liberation.
A number of reviews have highlighted how starkly different Coppala’s biopic is compared to Baz Luhrmann’s movie Elvis. Indeed, critics have emphasised how understated and ‘sympathetic’ Priscilla is. The movie focuses more on softly depicting a princess trapped in a castle or a caged bird than showing the actualities and viciousness that most likely went on behind closed doors.
It has been widely assumed that Priscilla’s direct involvement with the film naturally resulted in its somewhat toned-down presentation. Of course, it’s understandable that someone who is already sharing very intimate parts of their life with millions of people would perhaps want to keep some things under wraps or hidden from the world.
Either way, it’s definitely worth a watch. There have always been a lot of presumptions made about Priscilla, her life, and the way she chose to live it. So it’s nice that now she’ll finally have a film reflecting her side of the story, through her own lens.