At the Venice Film Festival premiere of “Priscilla,” Priscilla Presley found herself deeply moved as the audience erupted into a 7-minute standing ovation. The A24 indie film, directed by Sofia Coppola, not only captured hearts but also brought tears to the eyes of its subject, Priscilla Presley.
The premiere, held in Italy, was attended by Sofia Coppola, Priscilla Presley, and the film’s stars, Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, who portray Priscilla and Elvis, respectively. What made this premiere even more remarkable is that Spaeny and Elordi were granted a SAG-AFTRA waiver to promote the film amidst an ongoing strike.
Priscilla Presley’s emotional response to the film was palpable. As she wiped away tears, she shared a heartfelt hug with Cailee Spaeny. Although Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” had hit theaters in 2022, featuring Austin Butler as Elvis, Sofia Coppola’s rendition presents a different perspective. This portrayal of Elvis portrays him as someone addicted to sleeping pills, prone to fits of temper, and attempting to exert control over his girlfriend’s attire while engaging in infidelity.
While the film may bear Priscilla’s name, the crowd outside the Sala Grande Theatre was chanting one name loudly – “Jacob! Jacob! Jacob!” Jacob Elordi, known for his role in “Euphoria,” exuded the charisma of a ’90s Brad Pitt movie star. He graciously signed autographs and took selfies with fans, even going the extra mile to retrieve a Polaroid that a fan accidentally dropped over the barricade. It was a gesture that would have made Elvis himself proud.
Earlier in the day, Priscilla Presley attended the film’s press conference, where she emotionally answered a question about falling in love with Elvis at the age of 14. She said, “It’s very difficult to sit and watch a film about you, about your life, about your love,” and praised Sofia Coppola’s meticulous work on the project.
Priscilla continued to explain that her connection with Elvis went beyond age and physicality, emphasizing that they were more aligned in their thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, she clarified that their relationship was not solely about sex, as they never engaged in such activities. She described Elvis as kind, soft, and loving while respecting her age of 14 at the time.
Based on Priscilla Presley’s autobiography, “Elvis and Me,” which Coppola adapted herself, the film delves into Priscilla’s life and her passionate love affair with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It follows her journey from being a teenage army brat stationed in West Germany to her life at Graceland.
“Priscilla” marks a reunion between Sofia Coppola and A24, the studio behind the film. While Coppola is a frequent presence at Cannes, she’s no stranger to Venice, with her film “Somewhere” winning the Golden Lion at the festival in 2010.
As a counterbalance to last year’s “Elvis,” which told the story from Elvis Presley’s perspective, “Priscilla” offers a fresh take on the legendary love story. “Priscilla” is set to grace theaters on October 27, courtesy of A24, and will be the centerpiece screening at the New York Film Festival in October.