Coppola’s 2006 film “Marie Antoinette” starred Kirsten Dunst as the iconic royal who reigned amid the French Revolution. Now, the “Bling Ring” helmer adapts Priscilla’s 1985 memoir “Elvis and Me” with Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) and Jacob Elordi playing married couple Priscilla and Elvis. Priscilla serves as an executive producer of the film.
“I’m excited to do something rooted in that Americana style for the first time. And Priscilla is a quintessential glamor icon,” Coppola told Vogue. “I was just so interested in Priscilla’s story and her perspective on what it all felt like to grow up as a teenager in Graceland. She was going through all the stages of young womanhood in such an amplified world — kind of similarly to Marie Antoinette.”
Coppola continued, “We’re making a low-budget film. Not everything can be quite as epic as it was in Priscilla’s real life, so we have to recreate it in a crafty way.”
Frequent Coppola collaborators including cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd, costume designer Stacey Battat, editor Sarah Flack, and production designer Tamara Deverell also signed on to the period piece. “Priscilla” is the third collaboration between Coppola and A24, following “On the Rocks” and “The Bling Ring.”
Coppola cast Spaeny in the role of Priscilla, spanning 12 years across ages 15 to 27. Elordi auditioned to play Elvis, with Coppola noting that she “only watched one episode” of “Euphoria” with her daughter and “it was a little too much.”
“He also plays a real dick on that show,” Coppola said of Elordi’s character. “But he’s so sweet and humble as a person. I thought nobody was going to look quite like Elvis, but Jacob has that same type of magnetism. He’s so charismatic and girls go crazy around him, so I knew he could pull off playing this type of romantic icon. But we’re talking before we’ve even started filming so I can’t get too deep into it.”
Coppola also thwarted any comparisons between “Priscilla” and Baz Luhrmann’s sweeping epic “Elvis,” with Austin Butler playing the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
“I think Baz is so unique and his take on that story was so creative. But Priscilla is such a minor character in that film so I never felt like I was treading on the same territory,” Coppola said. “I love that people were so into his film about Elvis, and now in a few years there’ll be another film about Priscilla. I think it’ll be interesting to have two completely different interpretations of the same events and time period.”
She continued, “Priscilla is the real focus of it. There are some aspects of Elvis’s career included but it all sort of plays out in the background of their relationship and her developing her identity. I loved how Baz approached his story in a very collage-y way, but I’m glad it didn’t go into much of Priscilla’s story because now I can really dive deep.”