Priscilla Director Sofia Coppola has addressed her latest film’s portrayal of Elvis Presley, which sparked backlash from the rock icon’s estate.
Coppola’s latest project is a film adaptation of Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir entitled Elvis and me, which gave the public an interesting new perspective on the complicated relationship between Elvis and Priscilla. In conversation with GamesRadarThe Oscar-winning filmmaker shared that it was never her intention to “denigrate” the King of Rock. Instead, Coppola simply wanted to represent Priscilla’s truth as best as possible, which meant including both the “dark moments” and the “funny moments” of Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage from the memoir.
“I never wanted to denigrate [Elvis]” explained Coppola. “There were funny moments and them loving each other, and then there are dark moments and how to balance that so it doesn’t become too one-sided.” I tried not to think about all the other opinions. I really just focused on her story.” These moments included Elvis’ multiple affairs and drug use, the latter of which was also depicted in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 film Elvis.
Additionally, Coppola discussed what it was like writing the biopic and revealed that the important part of the process was establishing communication with Priscilla Presley to get her story right. “I talked to her a lot during preparation,” she remembers. “She made herself available. It was important to me that she felt comfortable with it and that it reflected what she wanted to express. “So that was a challenge: How do I do what I want to do, but also make sure that it respects her and tells her story?”
Lisa Marie Presley wasn’t happy with the Priscilla biopic
As Priscilla Hit the cinema, it was revealed that Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, was able to express her disappointment and anger over Coppola’s biographical drama before her sudden death on January 12, 2023. Through an email to Coppola, Lisa Marie understandably defended her father, describing the film as a “shockingly vindictive and contemptuous” portrayal of her parents’ marriage. The late singer-songwriter reached out to Coppola days before production began and tried to reconsider making the film. Due to the Presley estate’s reaction to the film, the Priscilla Biopic couldn’t use any of Elvis’ popular songs.
Despite the controversy surrounding Elvis’ portrayal in the biopic, Priscilla Presley, who also serves as an executive producer on the project, is pleased with Coppola’s work and praises how well she handled the relationship with her former husband, whom she met for the first time , when she was married 14 years old. “It’s very difficult to sit and watch a movie about you, about your life, about your love,” Priscilla said. “Sofia did a great job. She did her homework, we spoke a few times and I really did everything I could for her.”
Priscilla is now playing in cinemas worldwide.