According to sources, Lisa Marie Presley expressed to Sofia Coppola that she found the screenplay for her latest movie, Priscilla, to be extremely vindictive and disdainful. She believed that it portrayed Elvis Presley as a predatory figure.
According to two emails obtained by Variety, Lisa Marie Presley, who passed away in January, expressed her dismay to the Oscar-winning director, urging them to reconsider the portrayal of her father and warning that the film could negatively impact her relationship with her mother, Priscilla Presley, who is the subject of the film.
The film “Priscilla” is inspired by Priscilla Presley’s 1985 book “Elvis and Me” and portrays her relationship with Elvis. Their courtship began in 1959 when Priscilla was 14 and Elvis was 24. Priscilla Presley is listed as an executive producer for the movie.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” Presley wrote in one of the two emails, sent four hours apart in September 2022. “As his daughter, I don’t read this and see any of my father in this character. I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father. I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?”
She stated, “I will be compelled to publicly express my true feelings about the film and go against you, my mother, and this movie.”
Presley commended Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic Elvis, stating that it provides a refreshing change from hardships and offers hope. She also mentioned her confusion regarding Coppola’s decision to criticize her father following the release of such a remarkable film, using the explanation of portraying her mother’s story through a pessimistic lens.
“I have concerns that my mother may not fully grasp the subtleties involved or the potential impact on Elvis’ reputation once this movie is released,” stated Presley. “I feel a sense of responsibility towards my mother, who has devoted her entire life to preserving my father’s legacy. My worry is that she may not comprehend the true purpose of this film or the repercussions it may bring.”
Presley mentioned that she had a conversation with one of her children regarding the movie, after they saw an announcement about it. She had to clarify that they will have to face another negative portrayal of their family, as there will be a movie about her grandfather that will try to depict him in a negative light, even though it’s not accurate.
I had to clarify that her grandmother, whom she loves dearly, is in favor of it. These two young girls have faced numerous challenges in the last 7 years, including my divorce and a difficult custody battle, as well as the loss of their brother. We have all been struggling to keep our heads above water.
Presley passed away due to complications resulting from bariatric surgery she had undergone several years prior.
Cailee Spaeny, who portrays Priscilla, and Australian Euphoria star Jacob Elordi, who portrays Elvis, have both received positive reviews from critics for their roles in the film Priscilla. Additionally, the film was chosen as an official selection at the Venice Film Festival.
According to Priscilla Presley, it was challenging to see a movie depicting her life and love, but she commended Coppola’s efforts and thorough research and expressed her admiration for the film. She also shared that she gave her all to help make the film the best it could be.
According to Variety, Presley reacted to a previous version of the screenplay, which was subsequently edited down by 10 pages.
When asked by Variety for a statement regarding the emails, Coppola’s representative shared the director’s response to Presley as written in the emails.
Coppola expressed her hope that upon viewing the completed film, you will have a different perspective and recognize the effort put into honoring your mother while also portraying your father with sensitivity and depth.