- The depiction of Priscilla’s real life with Elvis in the biopic has drawn criticism from the Elvis estate, which is protective of the Elvis brand.
- The autobiography, “Elvis and Me,” includes darker elements about Elvis such as drug use and infidelity, which may tarnish his image.
- Priscilla’s portrayal in the movie leaves little room for a positive perspective of Elvis, but director Sofia Coppola stands by her portrayal of Priscilla.
The Priscilla director is not pleased with Elvis’ estate. The biopic follows Priscilla’s relationship with Elvis from the moment of their meeting to the beginning of their divorce and is based on Priscilla Presley’s autobiography, Elvis and Me. Released by A24 first on October 27 and to a wider audience on November 3, the movie has secured just $2 million so far against a $20 million budget.
While director Sofia Coppola was able to work closely with executive producer Priscilla Presley, the Elvis estate was not quite as supportive of the movie. The depiction of Priscilla’s real life with Elvis has drawn ample critique from the estate, which was displeased with the depiction of Graceland and the overall writing and directing. Speaking with Vogue, Coppola explained her surprise that the estate’s reception has been so negative. Check out her quote below:
I don’t really know what the relationship is between Priscilla and the estate, but I thought they would have a little more respect for her since she’s such an important part of Elvis’s story. I’ve since learned that they’re just very protective of the Elvis brand and not very supportive of any project that they’re not controlling. I understand that they’re business people but I really do respect Elvis so much as an artist, and I think my film portrays him with some insight and sensitivity. Priscilla’s book has also been out for a while so I didn’t think my film had too many surprises. These stories have been available for years and I thought I could’ve gone a lot darker, to be honest, but I tried to handle it with a delicate touch. I think they’re just trying to protect the Elvis brand or whatever. But I’m just gonna focus on Priscilla.
The Likely Grievances Of The Elvis Estate
There are multiple reasons for the Elvis estate to protest against Priscilla. The very idea of a movie about Elvis’ wife can be problematic to his estate, especially since Elvis first began his relationship with her when he was 24 and she was 14. Any movie increasing public awareness of that fact is enough to tarnish Elvis’ image, but the autobiography also includes even darker elements about the legendary star.
Elvis and Me was first published in 1985 and became a TV movie in 1988.
Elvis is portrayed as particularly demanding of Priscilla, and he and his staffers appear to be downright controlling of her. It also portrays Elvis’ increasing reliance on various drugs, which he also convinced Priscilla to take, and it depicts his proclivity towards adultery. At a certain point, Elvis even prefers for Priscilla to remain in Graceland, where she can always be kept under his guard and control.
It is unsurprising that the Elvis estate would be against a movie that portrays Elvis in such a negative light. Priscilla’s painfully dark ending leaves little room for a positive perspective of Elvis, and it is a much less flattering depiction of the man than he has previously received in the Austin Butler-led Elvis. Priscilla may be against the wishes of the Elvis estate, but Coppola is convinced that she portrayed Elvis’ wife well.