Before her death earlier this year, Lisa Marie Presley expressed shock and horror over the depiction of her father Elvis Presley in the script for Sofia Coppola’s new film “Priscilla.” Described in two emails obtained exclusively by Variety, the late Presley asked Coppola to reconsider her vision for the character and to spare her family public embarrassment. The messages were sent four months before Presley suffered fatal cardiac arrest in January.
Presley’s messages called the script “shockingly vengeful and contemptuous,” and contained pleas to Oscar-winning director Coppola to refrain from straining her fragile relationship with her mother – the film’s subject, Priscilla Presley – as well as bringing scrutiny on Elvis’ living grandchildren as they continue to grieve the loss of Lisa Marie Presley’s son, Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020.
“Priscilla” is a biopic of Priscilla Presley, based on the subject’s 1985 memoir “Elvis and Me.” It has sparked conversation among critics and audiences for its portrait of Elvis and Priscilla’s courtship – one that began in Germany in 1959 when Priscilla was 14 and Elvis was 24.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative. 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 in one of her messages. Both were sent in September of last year, roughly four hours apart.
While Coppola had yet to roll cameras on “Priscilla” when Presley reached out, the latter told her bluntly that she would speak out against the project and her mother, who is credited as an executive producer and has participated in publicity for the A24 release. Already an awards season contender, the movie opened in limited release on Oct. 27 and expands wide on Friday.
“I will be forced to be in a position where I will have to openly say how I feel about the film and go against you, my mother and this film publicly,” Presley wrote.
When asked for comment on the exchange, Coppola responded through her representative with words she expressed to Presley in response to her September emails, saying it encapsulates what the director intended to do with her film.
“I hope that when you see the final film you will feel differently, and understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity,” wrote Coppola.
Priscilla Presley was not immediately reachable for comment. A24, which is distributing “Priscilla” domestically and did not produce the project, declined to comment.
Lisa Marie Presley Slammed Sofia Coppola’s ‘Priscilla’ Script as ‘Vengeful and Contemptuous’ for Elvis