When teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party, the man who is already a meteoric rock-and-roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, a vulnerable best friend. Through Priscilla’s eyes, Sofia Coppola tells the unseen side of a great American myth in Elvis and Priscilla's long courtship and turbulent marriage, from a German army base to his dream-world estate at Graceland, in this deeply felt and ravishingly detailed portrait of love, fantasy, and fame.
S O F I A C O P P O L A
Sofia Coppola has written and directed her eighth film “Priscilla” based on the memoir Elvis and Me by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. The film stars Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, and is produced by Coppola, Youree Henley and Lorenzo Mieli.
Coppola made history in 2017 as only the second woman to win the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the first woman to win since 1961 for her film, “The Beguiled”, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell.
Coppola’s directorial debut was “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) which she adapted from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel of the same name. The movie starred Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods, and Kathleen Turner. With a world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival, The Virgin Suicides subsequently earned her the MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker.
Coppola’s next film, “Lost in Translation” (2003), for Focus Features, screened at the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals. The movie brought her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson won BAFTA Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, among many other honors that the cast and crew received worldwide.
Her third feature as writer/director, “Marie Antoinette,” (2006) was based in part on Antonia Fraser’s biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey, and had its world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival. The movie, which Coppola also produced, starred Kirsten Dunst in the title role. The film’s costume designer, Milena Canonero, won an Academy Award for her work on the picture.
“Somewhere” (2010) was shot at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. She wrote, directed and produced the movie, which stars Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. It premiered at the 67th Venice Film Festival, where it was honored with The Golden Lion.
Her next film, “The Bling Ring,” (2013) based on true events, followed a group of teenagers on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood Hills, with an ensemble cast starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, and Katie Chang.
“A Very Murray Christmas” was released by Netflix in December 2015. Coppola wrote, produced and directed the film in which Bill Murray rounds up an all-star cast for an evening of music, comedy and good cheer in this homage to classic holiday variety shows.
Most recently she wrote and directed “On The Rocks” (2020) starring Rashida Jones, Bill Murray and Marlon Wayans. The film follows a young mother who reconnects with her playboy father on an adventure in New York and was the first co-production between A24 and Apple.
She serves as producer on “Fairyland” based on the critically acclaimed book by Alysia Abbot, directed by her friend Andrew Durham.
In addition to her film career, Sofia directed a production of Verdi’s classic, “La Traviata” at the Rome Opera House, for which she has teamed up with fashion designer Valentino Garavani and production designer Nathan Crowley. In 2022, she created a room for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”
Coppola grew up in Northern California and studied Fine Art at California Institute of the Arts.
I was moved by Priscilla Presley’s memoir of her experience as a young woman at Graceland and have tried to capture what it felt like for her going into Elvis’ world and finally emerging to find her own life. It’s important to me as an artist to show the world through my character’s eyes without judgement. I’ve always been interested in ideas of identity, agency and transformation. This movie examines how Priscilla becomes who she is and what womanhood means to her and the generation after her. She experiences so many of the same things that all young women experience on their journey into adulthood, but in such a grand and unusual environment. Priscilla’s story is both unique and incredibly relatable.
By the age of 21, she was one of the most famous women in the world, the symbolic queen of American rock and roll. Yet Priscilla Presley, the long-time love and only wife of Elvis, was barely known at all. Her narrative has long been eclipsed by the overwhelming heat and flash of his, but within its contours lies an alternate and private history, though one mirroring the culture—a girl’s story of yearning, growing up inside a lushly fabricated fairy tale, and ultimately awakening to very real personal desires and the layers and complexities of power.
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Sofia Coppola presents a view of Priscilla’s time with Elvis from the mysterious interior. The tale unfolds like an intimate memory from a childlike, dreamy, but eventually widening point of view, as Priscilla lives out an alternately tantalizing, suffocating, and transforming fantasy, and experiences a singularly American coming-of-age. Her story spans from age 14—when she first meets Elvis as a bored, lonely Air Force brat living in Germany—to 24, when she departs the candy-colored dreamland of Graceland as a young mother hungry to explore her own unwritten future. In the decade between, Coppola handcrafts an immersive, deliciously glamorous existence, but also a delicate, close-up vision of a young woman clamoring to define herself in a world where she’s constantly defined by others.
Coppola has a radically reverse take on biography. She comes at the biopic as anything but exacting chronology; instead, it’s all about visceral encapsulation of mood, style, and deeply internalized feelings: biography not as deconstruction of personality but evocation of identity’s creation. Her Marie Antoinette (2006) was as historically irreverent as it was unapologetically youth-saturated, taking a fresh look at the indulgence of Versailles through the eyes of a naïve child thrust into a realm of power in which she had to find her own solace.
Priscilla, too, is whisked as a teenager into a life of royalty, albeit that of a particularly American variety. And while the atmosphere and accoutrements (not to mention the drugs and rock and roll) of 1960s Memphis make for a vastly different world from Versailles, Coppola’s focus is again distinct. The cultural and sexual shockwaves of the rock revolution and the complexities of Elvis’s magnetism are here seen through the filter of a teenager chasing a tenuous romantic dream. By candidly evoking how the rise and fall of their courtship felt from the inside—the closeness of it, the passion, the enchantment, the strangeness, the claustrophobia, and the growing urge to break out—Coppola gives Priscilla ownership of her story.
Says Coppola, “Reading Priscilla’s story for the first time, I was struck by how relatable her story was even in such an unusual setting, and how we saw her as such a striking figure next to Elvis, but she wasn’t looked at beyond that. Priscilla was mainly seen in the world of entertainment tabloids as ‘Elvis’s child bride’ but I felt there was a much more interesting story to tell—about a girlish wish that came true but wasn’t what she imagined, about coming-of-age inside both incredible fame and great loneliness, about how people learn to live inside of bubbles and also feel the need to burst them, about the strength it took to for her to realize that as much as she loved Elvis, she had to go. Elvis was such a vital part of American cultural history, but Priscilla’s life is equally part of that history.”
Coppola continues, “Priscilla has traditionally been this minor character in the Elvis story, but she saw the whole history through a fascinating and completely different lens. I was interested in exploring what it was like to be a teenager in Graceland, to grow up inside this extremely amplified atmosphere, in a complicated marriage, and how extraordinary it was to walk away from that world to lead her own life.”
For the screenplay’s framework, Coppola drew primarily from Presley’s 1985 bestseller Elvis and Me, an unflinchingly candid yet still lovelorn memoir, which captured Coppola’s imagination. She explains, “I found it to be a kind of Alice in Wonderland, a girl’s journey into an unimaginable fantasy and how she comes out the other end seeing things more clearly. There was something so fascinating, and so touching, to me about her story. What it would be like to go into Graceland as a child and leave as an adult? I started to think about how you might illustrate that as an impressionistic memory.”
The memoir is where Coppola found the film’s swirling structure, evoking all the layers of girlhood memory, but also the way such memories are later haunted by longing, by compassion for one’s choices and for the flaws of love.
Coppola additionally had extensive personal conversations with Priscilla in the here and now, from which she gleaned more of Priscilla’s perspective—and as perspectives often do, it has shifted somewhat from when she wrote the book. A long-time admirer of Coppola’s filmography, Priscilla was forthcoming with the filmmaker and the two spoke of emotions and impressions as much as events. From the start, Coppola chose to suspend even the faintest notion of judgment in favor of staying true to Priscilla’s sometimes startling reminiscences.
“Her story raises many questions because she was so young, and you wonder how her parents could even have allowed her to leave Germany to live with Elvis while she was still in high school,” Coppola says. “But I wanted to be very open and empathetic, and to really hear from her what her experience was like, and to reflect that honestly. To me, it is an extreme experience of what it was like to be a woman in that era—but also of growing up in general.”
It was 1959 when Priscilla first encountered Elvis. Her stepfather was stationed in Germany as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and Elvis, already the progenitor of modern mega-stardom with millions of gasping fans worldwide, had enlisted as a regular soldier in the Army. Invited to a party with the rock star, Priscilla remembers her shock to find herself faced with an awkward, nervous Elvis, a side of him she’d never imagined. To her even greater dismay, he began to confide in her, sharing his grief over his recently deceased mother. Despite her parents’ profound alarm over the approaches of an older man, one at the center of a searing gossip machine, Elvis managed to keep assuaging their worst fears. Priscilla and Elvis continued to grow closer even after he returned to the U.S. in 1960. In 1963, Priscilla’s parents gave consent for 17-year-old Priscilla to join Elvis in Memphis—where she attended Immaculate Conception High School, an all-girls Catholic school, while living at Graceland.
Though they slept in the same bed upon her arrival at Graceland, Priscilla has said that, at his insistence, she and Elvis avoided sex during their seven-plus year courtship, right up until their wedding night in 1967. Exactly nine months later, Lisa Marie Presley, their only child, was born. Five years after that, with both embroiled in affairs, Priscilla made the decision to leave Elvis. They divorced in 1973, though were seen holding hands leaving the courtroom—and Priscilla recounted that Elvis crooned Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” to her as she drove away.
For Coppola, Priscilla’s passage from enthrallment to isolation to discovering herself outside of Elvis’s myth, is widely relatable, even if her circumstances with Elvis are wildly not. One of the first ideas that captured her was that of Priscilla attending a traditional Catholic school by day while bantering with Elvis’s Graceland entourage by night.
“Imagine you're up all night long partying with Elvis, picking out which pistol goes with which dress, and then you go to twelfth grade in the morning, with all your classmates whispering about you,” muses Coppola. “I began to see her journey as a very heightened, exotic version of things many girls experience growing up and becoming women—separating from our parents, becoming mothers, and finding our real identities along the way.”
Priscilla’s fantasy of life with Elvis soon collided into the social conventions of the period. “Priscilla found she was expected to
Production stay at home because that’s what wives did. Even after she finished school, Elvis would go off to Hollywood without her and she was supposed to sit and wait for him. She couldn’t have a job, there were constant rumors of his affairs, and she was incredibly lonely amid all the glamour of Graceland,” observes Coppola. “When she got pregnant, she hoped they’d have more time together, but it was the beginning of the end. Elvis loved his daughter, but I don’t think he was down for sharing the realities of raising a child, and Priscilla couldn’t be his playmate anymore because her whole focus changed as a mother.”
Coppola specifically crafted her film’s version of Elvis—usually the driving force of any narrative, as she puts it—“as a side character in Priscilla’s story.” This slyly flips the script, revealing the personal effects of the power differential on Priscilla. At the same time, Coppola wanted to be true to the friends-whispering-in-the-dark nature of their relationship, the part that kept Priscilla so enchanted.
Coppola says of her take on biography, “What I’ve always liked most about movies is that feeling you get when you are completely immersed into someone else’s world–seeing the things you can relate to from your own world, and also things that surprise or unsettle you. These are the movies I’m drawn to making. So, I wanted audiences to 100% walk in Priscilla’s shoes. At the same time, I wanted to be sensitive to what all the characters are going through—for example, to her parents who I think felt really torn between needing to protect their daughter and allowing her to follow her heart. But it was vital that the story never leaves Priscilla’s perspective.”
That frame also turned the story into a variant on the “stranger in a strange house” movie as it becomes less about Elvis and more about a teenager wrestling with her agency while being pulled into a beautiful, cloistered world that threatens to swallow her. “A lot of teen girls have fantasy crushes on famous, older men but this one became a reality,” says Coppola. “What interested me was exploring not only how that played out but how the things that Priscilla wanted changed as she grew up inside Graceland.”
As Priscilla is drawn into the Graceland vortex, the acuteness of the film’s vibrant colors and opulent design also pull the viewer further into her shaky dreamworld. There is a sense of mounting disquiet and isolation, but also of love that can’t be expressed.
Regardless of how necessary Priscilla found it to leave Graceland, Coppola notes one thing is eminently clear about how Priscilla sees the story: “Priscilla and Elvis always felt a deep and meaningful connection that lasted throughout his life and continues in hers.”
With the entire movie channeled through Priscilla’s POV, Coppola looked for a performer able to simultaneously embody her youthful naivete and her inner growth in the hothouse of Graceland. She found that in rising star Cailee Spaeny, who recently took her first lead in The Craft: Legacy and won accolades as single mother Erin McMenamin in the hit HBO series Mare of Easttown.
“Talking to Priscilla, I always found something very sweet and soft and open about her and when I saw Cailee, I saw those qualities,” reflects Coppola. “Cailee is so expressive with her face, and she has an incredible ability to move between different stages of life. We shot the film out of order, but somehow, she could be a 15-year-old in Germany in the morning and in the afternoon be pregnant in her 20s at Graceland, and both felt equally true.”
Spaeny dove deep into research for the role, watching footage, listening to music, reading extensively from work inside the period. “She really put all of herself into it. Most of all, I found Cailee able to connect you to her emotions in a way that is beautifully mysterious,” says Coppola.
For Priscilla’s Elvis, Coppola wanted someone willing to venture a bit outside the mold of countless Elvises of film, television, and literature. “Since this is Elvis from Priscilla’s perspective, the picture of him is built entirely on the way she talks about him,” Coppola notes. “It’s the private side of Elvis, the offstage side nobody else saw. We don’t really see him performing very much in this story, and the role is much more about the way he was at home alone with Priscilla and the vulnerabilities, doubts, and flaws that she saw.”
Jacob Elordi, the young Australian who came to the fore in HBO’s acclaimed Euphoria and will also be seen this year in Emerald Fennel’s Saltburn, latched onto the idea of a more insecure and eccentric Elvis from the start. “Jacob really went for it,” says Coppola. “He already has a lot of natural charisma, but he really tried to embody not just the physicality of him, but also the emotional side as Priscilla knew him. He drew from Priscilla’s descriptions of Elvis as someone who was always searching for something elusive and easily frustrated.”
The film’s supporting cast includes Dagmara Dominczyk, well known as PR executive Karolina Novotny in the hit series Succession. She plays Priscilla’s conflicted mother, Anne, as a woman caught between a profound urge to shield her daughter from a perilous relationship and potential heartbreak, and the desire to help Priscilla pursue the life she so determinedly wants. Dominczyk says of Anne, “She’s a mother who is deeply, deeply concerned for her teenage daughter. She doesn’t know what it might mean for Priscilla that she is falling in love with a man who is a megastar or what kind of life might follow from that. Priscilla’s at such a tender age. Anne fears she could be terribly hurt in this situation. But equally, she doesn’t want to be the one standing in the way of her daughter’s happiness.”
Rounding out the cast is Ari Cohen in the role of Captain Beaulieu, Priscilla’s adoptive father (her biological father died in a plane crash, after which her mother remarried) and Tim Post as Elvis’s father, Vernon, who managed Graceland.
Post recalls that Coppola’s emphasis on setting an enveloping vibe for cast and crew made the set unlike any other. “For instance, when we were filming the scene where Priscilla first meets Elvis at a house party, there was this amazing amber glow of cigarettes, drinks, and people having a good time, and before each take, Sofia would play the song ‘Sweet Nothin’s.’ You felt completely brought into that world. That's the magic of what she does, and music and feeling are such a central part of her filmmaking. Between set-ups, there was always music playing, which relaxed everyone and helped everything to come from a creative, loving space.”
In 1957, in Elvis’s first year of stardom, as hordes of fans began massing outside his Memphis residence, Presley purchased his dream home: then known as Graceland Farms, an estate built in 1939 replete with an 8-bedroom Colonial Revival mansion. Purchased for $100,000, Elvis could not have foreseen it would later become an iconic U.S. landmark, a mecca of pure Americana visited by half a million people yearly. For Elvis, it was simply a sanctuary. In search of privacy, he had a pink fieldstone wall installed around the 17,000 square-foot house, carving out an inner sanctum beyond the reach of prying paparazzi.
Coppola wanted to bring audiences inside a Graceland unseen by outsiders, the gossamer bubble world that Priscilla entered in 1963 with both wide-eyed joy and trepidation, not the palace of kitsch nor the tourist attraction. A Graceland full of confectionary colors, gauzy textures, and the meaning-laden trinkets of childhood. A Graceland both born out of make-believe and a desire for finding a home, both lusciously alluring and haunted by loneliness.
To etch transporting details into the visuals, she put together a team of long-trusted and new creative collaborators. Though Coppola typically undertakes exquisitely curated designs for all her films, this time she felt the creative elements converging in a different way. “This film felt in a way like it was the culmination of all of my previous experiences coming together,” she says.
Oscar-nominated Philippe Le Sourd, who shot The Beguiled and On the Rocks for Coppola, brought his sensitive touch and keen eye for light-play to the primarily interior shoot. “Philippe is so great at listening closely,” comments Coppola. “He understood exactly what I wanted to do with the film and helped me not only to capture the time period but more so to convey deeply complex and internal emotions visually. We talked at length about how to make every frame feel as if you’re seeing this world through Priscilla’s eyes.”
Production designer Tamara Deverell, who was recently Oscar nominated for cultivating the heightened period noir of Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, found an enthusiastic collaboration with Coppola as the two embarked on a journey of imaginative curation, building their own mini-Graceland on Toronto soundstages. The work of renowned 60s photographer and Memphis native William Eggleston—with its sensual colors and emphasis on the oddly arresting beauty of everyday objects—was a major influence. “Eggleston was the very first reference Sofia gave me, and we really embraced that kind of composition style and color quality,” says Deverell.
Coppola told Deverell right off the bat that she had in mind a highly impressionistic, rather than hyper-accurate, approach. Following that idea, Deverell matched the authentic layout of Graceland during Priscilla’s life there—but from there made everything even more tactile and alluring, as if popping out from deep, melancholic memories. Coppola gave Deverell one ground-setting piece of direction early on: when Priscilla first arrives at Graceland from her sheltered life in Germany, it should feel as if she is walking “into a wedding cake.”
This led to an almost edible, mouth-watering palette of soft, candied colors. “Priscilla’s Graceland is a world of pastel pinks, baby-blues, rich golds, and creams,” says Deverell. “It’s our own idea of her world but one that still resembles the real Graceland in its outlines. It builds the idea of Priscilla emerging from the dark, dreary palette of her life in Germany into this burst of warmth and color, a world of flowers, swimming pools, and sunlight. We worked really, really hard to get the story’s palette just right.”
Elvis had Graceland completely renovated in the mid 70s, after Priscilla had moved out, and what tourists see today is the refurbished mansion he lived in at his untimely death in 1977. But this gave Deverell even more free reign to play. “I equate what we did to writing a poetic ode to Graceland,” she says. “It was more about playing with ideas about these two characters and how they saw things. Sofia and I really wanted to engage that part of your brain that feels like you're going into a memory. Every fabric, every composition, every space, we thought about through the lens of Priscilla's memories.”
Deverell continues, “We did use some of the objects we knew Elvis had in the house, like these little cookie ceramic animals he liked and the Jesus in their bedroom. We also built a facsimile of his famous white piano, because it needed to have all the gold elements added—it’s a one-of-a-kind piano you can’t just find.”
While the downstairs of Graceland is a wispy, sun-dappled mid-Century show palace, the upstairs bedroom, where many key scenes take place, is a more shadowy, freighted place. “There are almost no existing pictures of the upstairs of Graceland in the 60s,” notes Deverell. “So again, we followed our own vision, using lots of blacks and golds that reflected Elvis’s personal style during that period, and those dark, heavy drapes that keep the world out.”
“It’s this kind of dark man-cave that they get lost in when they talk,” comments Coppola. “Priscilla writes evocatively about seeing Elvis’s bedroom for the first time in her book and I really wanted to capture that kind of feeling.”
Coppola credits Deverell with bringing the film’s mix of the meticulous, nostalgic, and emotional to life. “Tamara was incredible. We could never have pulled this off without her and her team, who recreated everything from newspaper clippings to vintage plane tickets, and brought in so many perfect period details. It was an essential part of the storytelling and Tamara was constantly innovating, turning hair salons into hospital rooms. She created a complete world that feels like nowhere else.”
The film’s costumes, as well as hair and makeup, were equally instrumental for immersing audiences into the fabric of Priscilla’s life. “Elvis and Priscilla were very into clothing and style,” notes Coppola. “The glamour of their world was enticing from the start. But it’s also a significant part of her story that as Priscilla grows up, and it becomes the 70s, her style evolves into something new. In a sense, she takes it all off and becomes her own person. She becomes more independent, wearing what she wants. Elvis didn’t like her to wear prints and she starts wearing prints to defy that. It’s another element of her emotional development.”
Stacey Battat, who has worked with Coppola since 2010’s Somewhere, designed costumes that evolve from demure 50s petticoat dresses to groovy 70s miniskirts, as well as encompassing a few of Elvis’s iconic stage outfits. Battat had the exhilarating challenge of clothing stylish characters over perhaps the most extreme decade of fashion changes in history. Says Coppola of Battat’s work, “I just loved getting to watch Stacey and her team combine the many fashion evolutions of this time period with the evolution of the characters.”
Priscilla’s clothing goes through its own revolution as she leaves behind schoolgirl uniforms for the height of couture. “In the 50s, as an American in Germany, her clothing is prim and proper. All the girls are wearing stockings and even gloves. But by the time you get to the 70s, the rules change, the shapes are freer and since Priscilla has access to the very finest clothes, she starts to really express herself with fashion,” says Battat.
A fervent researcher, Battat dove into the extensive archives of the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum to scour for fabrics, textures, and shades, as well as media coverage of the day. Following her typical pattern with Coppola, long before production began, the two began exchanging photographs and scraps of color. “I love working with Sofia because the vibe she creates is always relaxed but very focused,” says Battat. “There’s a spirit of fun, creativity, and moviemaking imagination. She truly wants everyone to have a say. So even when it came to something like Elvis's jumpsuit, after we talked together about the authentic suit, I showed her a few options, and she’d say, ‘do the one that is most fun for you.’ It’s very nice to work with someone like that.”
Ultimately, the jumpsuit Elordi wears in the film was made by B&K Enterprises, a specialty costume shop that uses Elvis’s original designs. “Every time Jacob put it on, he seemed to channel Elvis. They also made his leather suit for the 1968 television special. Their work is incredible,” says Battat.
To craft Priscilla’s storied wedding dress in a fresh way Coppola called upon her connections at the House of Chanel. Though Priscilla actually bought her pearl-encrusted, long-sleeved lace dress straight off-the-rack at a department store, “our wedding dress in the film is a re-imagining of what Priscilla wore,” explains Battat. “It’s in the same shape of her real dress. But then it takes influences from the contemporary lacework of Virginie Viard [the creative director of Chanel since 2019].”
Recalls Coppola, “It was an incredibly exciting day when the dress showed up and it was so gorgeous with all this handmade lace. To see Cailee in it was stunning.”
The Italian fashion house of Valentino further collaborated on Elvis’s clothing. Famously, Elvis never dressed down, donning fully coordinated outfits even when relaxing at home at Graceland. “Valentino made these beautiful knit sweaters for Jacob, as well as his wedding tuxedo, and they did spectacular work. What an incredible honor to work with these two classic fashion houses,” says Battat.
Hair and makeup are major storytelling devices of their own in the film, starting from the very first time Priscilla draws on her signature winged eyeliner as a teenager. “It was just such a different era, but I do enjoy Priscilla’s commitment to glamour,” muses Coppola. “I thought a lot about the fact that she put on false eyelashes the moment she went into labor, which is something she wrote about in her book. There was always this feeling of being watched.”
The film marks the first collaboration between hair and makeup designer Cliona Furey—an Emmy nominee for The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe—and Coppola. “I pick my movies by director, and I always wanted to work with Sofia,” Furey says. “I find her style so intimate.”
It would be an exhilarating challenge, especially since the only constant to hair and makeup during the decade in which the film is set was constant change. “The colors women wore were rapidly changing, and hair went from flat to extremely bouffant then back to flat again,” Furey notes. “And for Priscilla, we were really creating the growth in her personality. When she’s younger, it’s almost as if she’s a doll, and as she grows up, she lets go of that artificiality and becomes more herself.”
Coppola also had a blast collaborating with Battat and Furey on the playful task of recreating dozens of vintage magazine covers featuring Elvis and Elvis-related gossip. “We did every one of those photos ourselves,” says Furey, “which also meant the joy of creating looks for icons like Ann-Margaret and Nancy Sinatra.”
“The magazines were such fun to do,” says Coppola. “I also felt they were necessary to be a constant reminder that Elvis was such a big cultural figure—Priscilla couldn’t help but see him in part through the media portrayal of him.”
For the film’s music, Coppola worked again with her husband Thomas Mars’ pop-rock band, Phoenix. The band’s lush electronic leanings might not have seemed an obvious match for a story that begins in the late 50s, at the very birth of guitar bands, but Phoenix fused influences from the 50s, 60s and 70s into their own sound to create something fresh.
“The first thing that we talked about was the Frankie Avalon song ‘Venus,’ which was playing when Priscilla first met Elvis, and that became Priscilla’s theme in the film. So, Phoenix did a bunch of different variations of ‘Venus’ that were really great,” Coppola explains. “We also talked about bringing in the essence of that big Phil Spector sound which became another musical through-line. Phil Spector produced the Ramones song that opens the film, ‘Baby I Love You,’ which sounds like it’s from that time but was recorded much later so it was fun to play with that idea as a kind of bridge between eras. There’s both period music and more recent music throughout the film, but the songs all tie together and give the film an energy that feels like girlhood to me.”
In the movie’s final moments comes Dolly Parton’s classic hit of wistful heartbreak, ‘I Will Always Love you,’ first recorded in 1973. The song was personal to Priscilla and Elvis, but to Coppola, the lyrics also mirror what she hoped to evoke: the mix of sorrow and excitement that accompanied Priscilla’s choice to leave Graceland and start again.
“One reason I really wanted that song is that it was so important to me to have a woman’s voice at the end of the film,” Coppola says. “But also, the sentiment of Dolly’s song so perfectly captures where Priscilla had arrived, determined to leave Elvis, though she still felt love for him. It was time for her to let go of the dream of Graceland and lead her own life.”
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One of Hollywood’s most promising young talents, Cailee Spaeny made her feature film debut in 2018 opposite John Boyega in Legendary’s "Pacific Rim: Uprising" after winning a nationwide talent search at the age of eighteen. From a small town in Missouri, Spaeny made a huge mark on Hollywood in the fall of 2018 in two studio films – Fox’s "Bad Times At El Royale" and Focus Feature’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg biopic "On The Basis Of Sex".
In March 2020, Spaeny made her TV debut in FX’s mini-series "Devscreated" by "Ex-Machina"’s Alex Garland. Later that year, Spaeny appeared in Zoe Lister-Jone’s "The Craft: Legacy". In April 2021, Spaeny starred HBO’s "Mare of Easttown" starring opposite Kate Winslet and Evan Peters. In July 2021, Spaeny starred in Daryl Wein’s "How It Ends" opposite Zoe Lister-Jones. The film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and was released on-demand and in select theaters on July 20th, 2021.
Spaeny can also next be seen starring in A24’s "Civil War" directed by Alex Garland. She will star alongside Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson.
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Jacob Elordi stars in the critically acclaimed HBO series "Euphoria" with director Sam Levinson, executive producer Drake and A24.
He will star in "Saltburn" directed by Emerald Fennell alongside Rosamund Pike and Barry Keoghan.
He will also star in Sony Pictures "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", a limited series set during World War II. The series is based on Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-winning novel.
Elordi also appears in the indie film "The Sweet East" with Talia Ryder, directed by Sean Price Williams. The film premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. He also stars in "On Swift Horses" with Daisy Edgar-Jones, Will Poulter and Diego Calva.
Additional credits include Legendary Pictures’ high concept feature "Parallel" and independent film "He Went That Way" starring opposite Zachary Quinto as well as Adrian Lyne's feature "Deep Water".
as Ann Beaulieu
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Dagmara Dominczyk is a television, theatre and film actress. Originally from Poland, Dominczyk pursued the arts in New York City, first at Laguardia High School of Performing
Arts as a teenager and later at Carnegie Mellon University. On Broadway, she has performed in such productions as "Closer", "The Violet Hour" and "Enchanted", and
Off-Broadway productions such as "There Are No More Big Secrets" and "Red Angel" with Eric Bogosian at Williamstown Film.
Dagmara’s latest project, the animated film "My Love Affair with Marriage" from Signe Baumane, recently had its World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and will have its European and Latin American premiere later this month.
Dominczyk currently stars as Karolina Novotney in the hit show "Succession" and as Erika Jensen in the HBO mini-series "We Own This City". Her other television appearances include "Prodigal Son", "The Accidental Wolf", "The Deuce", "Boardwalk Empire", "Person of Interest", "Suits", "The Good Wife", "24", "Five People You Meet in Heaven", "Bedford Diaries", and "Law & Order: SVU".
Dominczyk most recently starred alongside Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard in the Academy Award nominated film "The Lost Daughter", directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Her other recent film appearances include "Tonight at Noon", "Abe",
and "The Assistant". In addition, she played the role of Annika in "Higher Ground", and has also acted in films such as "Trust the Man" with David Duchovny, "Lonely Hearts" opposite Salma Hayek, "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Rock Star", Ryan Murphy’s "Running with Scissors"
and "Phantom" with Ed Harris.
Dominczyk also wrote her first novel, "The Lullaby of Polish Girls", published by Random House’s Spiegal & Grau.
Upcoming for Dominczyk includes "Hello Tomorrow!", a science fiction dramedy television series on Apple TV+ and "Bottoms", a high school sex comedy that Emma Seligman is directing for MGM’s Orion Pictures and Brownstone Productions.
Written and directed by: Sofia Coppola
Producers: Sofia Coppola, Lorenzo Mieli, Youree Henley
Executive Producers: Priscilla Presley, Roman Coppola, Fred Roos, Chris Hatcher
Co-Producers: Bumble Ward, Charles Finch
Director of Photography: Philippe Le Sourd
Production Design by: Tamara Deverell
Costume Designer: Stacey Battat
Edited by: Sarah Flack
Music Supervision by: Randall Poster
Original Score by: Phoenix
Casting by: Courtney Bright, Nicole Daniels
Canadian Casting by: John Buchan, Jason Knight
Original title: PRISCILLA
International title: PRISCILLA
Duration: 110 min
Original language: English
Countries of production: USA, Italy
The film was produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle Company,
Sofia Coppola for American Zoetrope, and Youree Henley.
Coppola is represented by Gersh and Hirsch Wallerstein. Cailee Spaeny is represented by WME and Sugar 23 and Jacob Elordi is represented by Gersh, Nicky Gluyas Management and Goodman Genow Schenkman.