But that’s all about to change, with Sofia Coppola‘s Priscilla set to premiere at Venice Film Festival on 4 September, and hit cinemas not long after.
Below, the true story behind this tell-all film, and exactly why you’ll want to see it.
What Is Priscilla Based On?
While the film is yet to hit our screens, it borrows its plot from Priscilla’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me.
The film, like the novel, will tell the story of their relationship, as well as Elvis’ meteoric rise to (and struggles with) fame, including substance abuse and extramarital affairs, from Priscilla’s perspective.
Speaking about the project to the Hollywood Reporter, Priscilla said she was apprehensive about being so vulnerable with her story.
“I’m so nervous because it’s my life. The people who are watching, they’re living it with you, and you hope and pray that they get it. They get your feelings, your hurts, your sensitivity.”
How Did Priscilla And Elvis Meet?
It opens when the pair met in the 1950s, with Priscilla aged 14, and Elvis aged 24. At the time, Priscilla was living in Germany with her family, where her step father was stationed with the US Army. Elvis, already a pop star, had also been drafted and was serving as a soldier in West Germany.
They met at a party hosted by one of Elvis’ friends who was also in the Air Force, and instantly hit it off.
In an essay penned for People, Priscilla reflected on their first meeting. “Nothing in my upbringing could have prepared me for our life. When we met, I was an impressionable 14 year old. He was 24,” she wrote.
Describing the encounter, she recalled Elvis wearing “a bright red sweater and tan slacks” and trying to impress her by playing the piano.
According to the essay, his efforts worked, because the pair shortly began going on dates, with Elvis eager to convince Priscilla’s parents that his intentions were good.
On March 1, 1960, Elvis returned to America from Germany, with Priscilla left wondering if she would “ever see him again.” Months passed, and he eventually invited Priscilla to visit him in Los Angeles, with Priscilla “mark[ing] off each day on the calendar until [they] would be together again.”
What Has Priscilla Said About The Film?
Understandably, many eyebrows have been raised at the thought of a 14 year old girl dating a 24 year old pop star.
But Priscilla herself has set the record straight at the Venice Film Festival, where the film premiered on September 4.
During a press conference at the festival, Priscilla offered her thoughts on why the late singer took an interest in her at such a young age.
“It was very difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me, and why, and I really do think [it was] 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.”
She also went on to clarify the nature of their romance, adding, “Even though I was 14, I was actually a little bit older in life, not in numbers. That was the attraction. People think, ‘Oh it was sex,’ ‘It was this.’ Not at all. I never had sex with him. He was very kind, very soft, and very loving, but he also respected the fact that I was 14 years old. We were more in our mind and thought, and that was our relationship.”
Priscilla also addressed the eventual breakdown of their relationship, saying “yes, I left. And it wasn’t because I didn’t love him – he was the love of my life – it was the lifestyle that was so difficult for me, and I think any woman can relate to that. But it didn’t mar our relationship. We still remained very close, and of course we had our daughter and I made sure that he saw her all the time. It was like we never left each other – so I want to make that clear.”
Who Is Directing The Film?
The project is led by Sofia Coppola. The director is no stranger to chronicling women’s stories, having worked on films including The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and Lost In Translation.
She told the Hollywood Reporter that she was drawn to Priscilla’s story thanks to her own experience growing up in a famous family, as the daughter of esteemed director Francis Ford Coppola.
“I know from my family what it’s like to be inside a show business family. I know that growing up, people are looking at you in a different way. And also living in a house with my dad, this big personality, a great artist and a lot of our life revolving around that. And seeing my mom’s life, how she was trying to find her way within his, I could relate to that,” she said.
When Does Priscilla Premiere?
Priscilla will premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2023. It will hit cinemas in the United States on October 27, 2023, with an Australian release date yet to be announced.
The New Priscilla Trailer Unlocks Dark Side Of Elvis Romance
There’s something that doesn’t quite sit right about a grown man pursuing a girl who was just 14 when they first met. The trailer for Sofia Coppola’s new film Priscilla evokes a gloomier view of this history-making romance, which has always seen Elvis in the limelight and Priscilla as the ‘pretty wife’. We see it unveil a darker side of their relationship, as explored in Priscilla Presley’s memoir, ‘Elvis And Me’.
A young Priscilla, played by Cailee Spaeny, falls for her idol as a teenager, and Elvis, played by Jacob Elordi, pursues her. A line breaks in, “Just what is the intent here, Mr. Presley?”, presumably Priscilla’s father asking exactly what interests him in a teenage girl when he has thousands of women clamouring for his attention.
“Well sir, I happen to be very fond of your daughter,” Elvis replies. “She’s much more mature than her age.”
However, as the trailer goes on and Priscilla’s naivety is exposed to Elvis’ distaste, and things take a turn. He dresses her to his liking, “Black hair and more makeup,” he says. When she says she isn’t sure if the look isn’t for her, he simply responds, “What do you mean you don’t like it?”
This control sours and we see glimpses of the things that pull the two apart: drugs, thrown chairs, raised voices in argument.
“He’s not like you’d imagine,” Priscilla’s narration continues. “You know there’s a lot of rumours about you.”
The trailer ends as we know the story goes, with Priscilla deciding, “I want a life of my own”, as the white Graceland gates open before her.
The trailer is a rumbling, U-turn on the stories that exalt Elvis and gloss over Priscilla. The film is sure to be divisive…and we can’t wait to watch it.