A few months before her death, Lisa Marie Presley called ‘Priscilla’ ‘shockingly vengeful.’ Her mother disagrees
Lisa Marie Presley wrote that the film would put her in the difficult position of having to publicly speak out against her mother, who is an executive producer for the film, and was concerned how the film would affect her family, Variety reported
Four months before her unexpected death, Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, pleaded with director Sofia Coppola to reconsider the direction she was taking the film about her parents’ relationship, calling the script “shockingly vengeful and contemptuous,” Variety has reported.
What Lisa Marie Presley said about ‘Priscilla’ movie
“Priscilla,” based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir “Elvis and Me,” explores the couple’s relationship, which began when Elvis was stationed in Germany in 1959. Priscilla Presley was 14 and Elvis was 24, the Deseret News previously reported.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” Lisa Marie Presley wrote in an email to Coppola last year about an early draft of the script, per Variety. “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?”
Presley wrote that the film would put her in the difficult position of having to publicly speak out against her mother, who is an executive producer for the film, and was concerned how the film would affect her family. She praised the movie “Elvis” — which came out last year and earned eight Oscar nominations — as a “ray of light” for her family and said she didn’t understand Coppola’s “need to attempt to take my father down on the heels of such an incredible film.”
Coppola reportedly responded to the emails and told Presley she hoped she would change her mind after seeing the final product.
“Understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity,” Coppola wrote, according to Variety.
What Priscilla Presley has said about ‘Priscilla’
“Priscilla” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September and hit theaters Nov. 3. It has received high praise from critics, earning Cailee Spaeny the best actress award for her portrayal of Presley at the premiere in Venice.
Priscilla Presley was emotional following the premiere, and has spoken highly of the film and Coppola’s direction, calling it “right on.”
“I love her filmmaking. I think she does a great job. She is for women, and when she approached me about doing a movie about me, I was moved by it,” Presley said at a recent Q&A, according to People. “If anyone were to do a movie, it would be for her. I would never support another movie from anyone else doing it.”
Presley has also opened up a little about her relationship with Elvis, addressing the 10-year age gap.
“Even though I was 14, I was actually a little bit older in life — not in numbers,” she said at the film’s premiere, USA Today reported. “That was the attraction. ... We were more in line in thought, and that was our relationship.
“It was very difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me and why,” Presley continued, per USA Today. “And I really do think because 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. And I was the person who really, really sat there to listen and to comfort him. That was really our connection.”
Presley noted that the pair remained close even after their divorce, and said that Elvis was “the love of my life,” according to USA Today.
What critics have said about ‘Priscilla’
“Priscilla,” which is rated R for drug use and some language, holds an 83% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes — 6% higher than the critic score for Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” The audience score for “Priscilla,” however, is significantly lower, sitting at 62% while “Elvis” holds a 94%.
“‘Priscilla’ may not be one of the better movies that Coppola has ever made ... but it stands apart from the rest of her work as the uniquely sensitive and self-honest portrait of a girl who starts to realize that she may have outgrown her greatest fantasy,” David Ehrlich wrote in a review for IndieWire, noting how the film details Presley’s transformation into “Elvis’ perfect woman.”
“It goes without saying that Elvis doesn’t come off so great in this movie, but ‘Priscilla’ never renders him as a monster, even after he starts throwing chairs and getting into scandals,” Ehrlich wrote. “On the contrary, the film paints him as a (very flawed) real person who’s similarly entombed by the image that’s been created for him.”
How to watch ‘Priscilla’
“Priscilla” is currently in theaters, and could possibly become available to rent on platforms like iTunes and Amazon as early as January, Collider reported.