A WHOLE LOT OF ELVIS
by Norman Warwick
Alli Patton followed up her own article about the best and worst of Elvis Imitators by telling us, again, in America Songwriter that another Elvis is set to appear on the silver screen, but this time it’s not his movie.
She previewed it by saying Priscilla will be the next feature film from Oscar-winning director Sofia Coppola (left). The film will be based on and adapted from the 1985 memoir and international bestseller, Elvis and Me, by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. No solid details have been released about the project, but Priscilla will most likely be an intimate telling of the couple’s marriage and life together with the wife-turned-businesswoman-and-actress at the center.
Mare of Easttown‘s Cailee Spaeny (right) and Euphoria‘s Jacob Elordi are set to play Priscilla and Elvis Presley. The couple were married from 1967 to 1973. After the King’s death in 1977, it was his ex-wife, Priscilla, who worked to establish Elvis Presley Enterprises and made Elvis’s famed Memphis mansion, Graceland, the tourist destination it is today.
While Coppola reportedly met with a number of actors to take on the role of Elvis, Spaeny had been the director’s choice for Priscilla from day one.
In a recent GQ cover story, Jacob Elordi (left) touched on the topic of Elvis, saying “I was just like, damn, Elvis Presley wanted to be James Dean. He wanted to be Marlon Brando. I’ve researched almost every actor from that time period, and I passed [Elvis] off as an entertainer and singer. But then he was an actor. I guess, in a way, I’m trying to learn from these people. Because I obviously don’t have any friends that have been through the same thing, really, so they’re almost like guiding beacons.”
Priscilla is set to begin filming in Toronto this fall.
Sofia Coppola. Sofia Carmina Coppola, born May 14, 1971) is an American filmmaker and actress. The youngest child and only daughter of filmmakers Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola, she made her film debut as an infant in her father’s acclaimed crime drama film The Godfather (1972). Coppola later appeared in several music videos, as well as a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). Coppola then portrayed Mary Corleone, the daughter of Michael Corleone, in The Godfather Part III (1990). She then turned her attention to filmmaking.
Coppola made her feature-length directorial debut with the coming-of-age drama The Virgin Suicides (1999). It was the first of her collaborations with actress Kirsten Dunst. In 2004, Coppola received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the comedy-drama Lost in Translation and became the third woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. In 2006, Coppola directed the historical drama Marie Antoinette, starring Dunst as the title character. In 2010, with the drama Somewhere, Coppola became the first American woman (and fourth American filmmaker) to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 2013, she directed the satirical crime film The Bling Ring, based on the crime ring of the same name which drew from the Vanity Fair article “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales about the real group of burglarizing teens who were “motivated by vanity and worship.” The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2015, Coppola released the Christmas musical comedy special A Very Murray Christmas, starring Bill Murray, on Netflix. It earned her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie. At the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, she won Best Director for her work on the drama film The Beguiled, becoming the second woman in the festival’s history to win the award. Her latest film, On the Rocks, received a limited theatrical release in October 2020 by A24 as well as a streaming release on Apple TV+.
In her personal life, Coppola met director Spike Jonze; they married in 1999 and divorced in 2003. In an official statement, Coppola’s publicist explained that the divorce decision was reached “with sadness”. It is widely believed that the main character’s husband in Lost in Translation is based on Jonze, as Coppola stated after the film’s release, “There are elements of Spike there, elements of experiences.”
From 2003 to 2005 Coppola dated filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. They have remained friends since their separation.
Coppola married musician Thomas Mars on August 27, 2011, at Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, Italy. They met while producing the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides. They have two daughters: Romy (born November 28, 2006), whose name is an homage to Coppola’s brother Roman, and Cosima (born May 2010Coppola and her family lived in Paris for several years before moving to New York City in 2010.
Coppola has maintained a low public profile for her family, aiming for her daughters’ lives to be unaffected by her career and travel. When asked if her choices as a parent to keep her children out of the spotlight is a result of her own upbringing, Coppola has explained that she never wants her children to be jaded.
Hayley Habbouchi, writing for Capital fm Radio, thought of by many as the UK´s ¨number one hit music station,´ had more to say a few days later, giving the lowdown on the upcoming movie, Elvis And Me from the cast to the release date and trailers.
Hayley promised that The life of Priscilla Presley is set to be told in a brand-new feature film titled Priscilla.
Sofia Coppola is set to direct the new biopic, which will be based on the 1985 memoir written by the former wife of Elvis Presley herself, titled ‘Elvis and Me’.
Contrary to the recent biographical film Elvis byBaz Luhrmann, which stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Priscilla will focus on the couple’s marriage through the eyes of the star’s ex-wife.
A star-studded cast has already been announced as Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi to play Priscilla and Elvis Presley, respectively, and here’s the lowdown on everything else we know about the upcoming film…
As production is yet to begin with Priscilla, the expected release date isn’t known just yet.
However, filming begasn in Autumn 2022 in Toronto.
As the upcoming biopic is based on The New York Times Bestseller, ‘Elvis and Me’, the script is thought to be adapted to fit Priscilla’s intimate account of her life with Elvis and their marriage from 1967-1973.
As production is not underway on the film just yet, there are yet to be any teasers or trailers.
Sidetracks And Detours waited patiently for the release of the film
Sofia Coppola is a personal filmmaker whose work follows a thematic through line: her pictures are all, in one way or another, about captivity and isolation. For the characters held captive the cage is often a gilded one, and the cage in search of a bird (in Kafka’s phrase) in “Priscilla” is Elvis Presley.
The King famously met Priscilla Beaulieu (right) in 1959 when he was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany; Priscilla was the daughter of another officer stationed there and was, well, 14 at the time the two were introduced. Coppola’s movie, written by the director and based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, honors the author by giving us her perspective. And while latter-day considerations of Presley’s behavior in courting, or one might say capturing, Priscilla are replete with condemnations of how creepy it was—the word “groomer” is tossed around, and in some specific ways seen here, it is absolutely apt—from the point of view of a dreamy, distracted Austin Texas girl far from home the attention of this very shy superstar is exhilarating.
In obviously tight collaboration with cinematographer Philipe Le Sourd (who shot Coppola’s “The Beguiled”) and editor Sarah Flack (who has been with Coppola since “Lost in Translation”; I’m obliged here also to disclose that Sarah is a friend), Coppola gives us a world of beautiful and surprisingly still surfaces. In her room in a modest house in Germany, Priscilla reads fan magazines; once out in Graceland and instructed not to be seen on the lawn too much, she reclines in living rooms and dens that got much tackier after she divorced Presley in early 1973. A lot of the times Priscilla just doesn’t know what to do with herself. As her superstar husband has his film career mismanaged by a never-seen-Colonel Tom Parker (did Sofia Coppola see Hanks in “Elvis” and say, “There’s just no topping Tom Hanks, I shouldn’t even try?” Actually, I don’t think that’s it), he’ll leave Memphis for Los Angeles and tell his bride to “keep the home fires burning.”
What’s Priscilla there for, anyway? Especially since, having arranged to separate her from her family and be more or less something like her guardian, he firmly refuses to sleep with her despite her increasing requests for intimacy. When they first meet in Germany, Elvis, completely sincere and earnest, tells the ninth-grader (and he here is shocked to be told that she’s that young) that he is lonesome for a girl to talk to. His mom had just passed away. It all seems so innocent.
In their early relationship, they’re both naïfs. Elvis has a poster of “On The Waterfront” in his bedroom, and he tells Priscilla that when he returns to the States, he wants to study at the Actor’s Studio to emulate Marlon Brando and James Dean. He takes her to see “Beat the Devil,” and Priscilla is amused and awed that her friend knows all of Bogart’s lines in the movie by heart. He dreams of an expansive artistic life.
How strange that my favourite songwriter John Stewart later wrote a song called I Wanna Be Elvis !
She dreams just of being with him. Of the two, only one will have their dreams come true. And then the dream won’t be enough.
Controversy has raged in the UK press since the film´s release, centred on the fact that Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla film won’t have Elvis Presley’s music on its soundtrack. The latest movie from the writer/director, 52, is Priscilla, a Priscilla Presley biopic that chronicles her relationship with the famous musician, as adapted from Priscilla’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me.
This cool, unhurried movie, as it is described on the RogerEbert.com web site, is firmly anchored by a spectacularly modulated performance by Caillee Spaeney.. The 25-year-old plays 14 so damn well that the viewer almost doubts that she’ll be able to credibly age into a woman nearing 30. But she does, beautifully. As Elvis, Jacob Elordi towers over her; the contrast is an exaggeration from real-life but an effective one. This Elvis is soft-spoken, given to discomfiting bursts of anger as he comes to rely more and more on medications to boost energy and get to sleep; all the stuff that killed the man, in the end, is here in ostensibly more manageable form, but Coppola’s storytelling does convey its insidious creep. The movie enjoys getting into some of Presley’s early ‘60s idiosyncrasies; he goes through a Bible-study phase, reads the Autobiography of a Yogi, and even experiments with LSD with Priscilla. Coppola’s brief depiction of their trip is one of the more credible accounts of psychedelic experience in recent film. And all this time, even through movie-set affairs rumored and/or real, he keeps Priscilla chaste until after marriage. And then knocks her up immediately.
Although Priscilla’s thwarted desire is underscored for the first 90 minutes, the movie skips the wedding’s consummation. Surely, Coppola wasn’t paying attention to the young scolds on social media who hate sex scenes because they don’t advance the story. Given the extensive set-up of the night and its aftermath, if any sex scene would have enhanced the story, it might have been this one. It’s hard to say if Coppola is being indefinite, ambiguous, or withholding by not including it; the fact that Priscilla Presley is an executive producer and booster of the movie might have prompted some discretion.
By the movie’s end, we see that Elvis has become a captive himself, of his own fame, and much more. Shot from behind at one of his countless Vegas shows, we see he’s caught in a trap, one that the woman he jailed out of what he sincerely thought was love, and who filled a genuine need, can’t help him with. His tragedy becomes Priscilla’s liberation. And so Coppola’s movie resolves on notes both poignant and haunting.
On 22nd July 2022 Sidetracks And Detours published our thoughts on the first film in the trilogy mentioned above. You can find it by simply typing ion Elvis The Movie into our search engine in our archives section.
A prime source for this review was an article written by Alli Patton and published in America Songwriter.
The review was filed from the Venice Film Festival. “Priscilla” opens on October 27, 2023. It was first subsequently published on the wonderful RogerEbert.com web site.
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For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April 2023 entitled Aspirations And Attributions.