Sofia Coppola and Cailee Spaeny talk about creating an authentic biopic starring Priscilla

Priscilla is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Screenplay and direction: Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) The film is based on the book Elvis and me, by Priscilla Presley with Sandra Harmon. Stars Cailee Spaeny (Developer, Alien: Romulus) And euphoria Heartthrob Jacob Elordi has sent the internet into a frenzy as fans eagerly wait to see her portrayals of Priscilla and Elvis Presley respectively.

In a recent press conference hosted by film critic Scott Mantz, Spaeny and Coppola spoke to reporters about the film and shared several behind-the-scenes moments. Imagine Jacob Elordi zipping around the set in a golf cart in the midnight hour with Cailee Spaeny, both dressed as their characters. How about the fact that Elordi, who speaks with an Australian accent in real life, was apparently heard in Elvis’ voice behind the scenes during filming?

“It’s funny because he kind of stayed in that voice the whole time, but like a subtle version of it,” Coppola told reporters. “After we finished I realized I spoke to him a few weeks later and he had this thick Australian accent. I didn’t recognize his voice. I never really heard his real voice. He subtly stuck with Elvis a bit during filming. He really got into it.” Sofia Coppola and Cailee Spaeny shared more in the press conference. Take note of the best takeaways:

On set with Jacob Elordi

Priscilla cast with Sofia Coppola

Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny talked at length before filming the film. The two actors wanted to be in sync and authentic in their portrayals of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. The 30-day shoot was intense. Director Sofia Coppola and the production team had the courage to build their own Graceland set in Toronto, where most of the scenes were filmed.

But there was a certain lightness, something that would intrigue teams Jacob and Cailee. The two actors often rode around the set in golf carts at midnight. “Jacob really blew us away and had the best time,” Spaeny shared. “And the pool party on the first day was really fun [of filming]. The kiss at the fireworks – all the moments in which they [Elvis and Priscilla] It was really fun to make the films that were at the height of their lives.” It was fascinating to see Jacob perform as Elvis on stage, Spaeny added. “I didn’t want to make him nervous, so I wasn’t in Eyeline. I hid behind the curtains and watched.”

Sofia Coppola noted that it was “amazing” when Elordi put on the jumpsuit: “The jumpsuit just took over him and he just started moving differently.” He loved it. It was really important to all of us that he embodied the essence of the character [of Elvis], and no imitation. Hopefully the audience will just get lost in the story and not be distracted.”

Coppola shot the film last fall, following Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. When asked how this film pushed her direction Priscilla and She said: “It’s a very different approach. I think Elvis is the outside performer, and I thought that was really the flip side of the story. The whole approach is more intimate and medium – the scale. It happens in a more intimate way.”

Cailee Spaeny talks about fighting Priscilla

Priscilla star Cailee Spaeny

For Spaeny, who grew up in an Elvis-loving family, play along Priscilla was the role of my life. But still a challenge that required extensive research. The first step was to read Priscilla Presley’s 1986 memoir. Elvis and me, then read the script along with the book. She wrote down the key questions she had and then made time to meet with Priscilla Presley herself to go over this chapter of her life.

“I always wanted her to feel comfortable. I never wanted to feel like I was interviewing her. I wanted it to come naturally,” she said of meeting Presley. “But she elaborated on these specific memories that she was connected to [Elvis] and she had specific details she would talk about. But just taking in the presence of this woman who lived this life…it was like her eyes sparkled again when she talked about certain moments she experienced or laughed at an inside joke that they had.”

Related: Best Priscilla Presley Performances, Ranked

She went on to say that these revelations were like “golden nuggets” that helped her put together a huge puzzle. “Especially in the way Sofia tells it in a sort of impressionistic memoir way. [Priscilla Presley] is such a fascinating woman and very graceful in the way she carries herself. She’s very soft-spoken, but there’s also something wild about her and she’s just very protective.”

How to Become Mrs. Elvis

Priscilla star Cailee Spaeny

Spaeny completely transformed into Pricilla Presley, but she worked hard to stay grounded in herself, noting:

“I never consider myself someone who approaches things methodically. I always assume with myself that I won’t carry that, but it’s always surprising how many characters stay with you on any project and accompany you along the way, especially this one, because I think we have that all so close in these 30 days.”

She continued that one of the biggest challenges is aging between the ages of 14 and 28. The scenes were not shot in chronological order. At one point Spaeny played Priscilla Presley at age 14, then two hours later Priscilla in her twenties. She praises the costume, hair and makeup departments, whose extensive research brought “so much love” to telling the story. “That kept me grounded during those times when she was emotionally experiencing this journey. In Sofia’s films, everyone simply brings their best. She creates an atmosphere of collaboration and has a very calming presence.”

Sofia Coppola on Priscilla Presley’s input

Priscilla Cast

Priscilla Presley’s memoirs were published back in 1986. Sofia Coppola had read the book, but this was a great opportunity to find a new perspective, to authentically capture Priscilla Presley’s story and also to show Elvis himself in a different, more truthful light.

“It was a new challenge for me,” Coppola admitted of the project. “I have never worked on the story of someone who was still alive and would see the story. That’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about: How do I express what I’ve connected with? Then also make sure it is a story that Priscilla feels is her experience. A big challenge was to reduce such a large part of a person’s life to the length of a film. How do I do that and give the impression of everything she’s been through?”

Related: Here’s Every Sofia Coppola Movie, Ranked

She was happy to have access to Priscilla Presley, who she said was open to reliving that era. “She talks about it in such detail and gave so much insight,” she said. “As a mother of teenage girls…I could really see the story from both perspectives – how could their parents let this happen? [Priscilla] Life in Graceland and the tension that brought with it. And I just felt like I had a different perspective that I could now bring to the story better on different levels.”

Watch the film with Priscilla yourself

In a moment ripe for a panic attack, Spaeny watched Priscilla at the Venice Film Festival with Priscilla Presley in the same theater. She said:

“I was so nervous. It’s so strange watching yourself on a big screen for two hours. I remember asking Sofia, ‘Should I watch it in Venice?’ And she said, ‘I think , you should do that.” And I sat down and watched it, but Priscilla Presley was sitting right next to me for the entire screening. So it’s one thing to watch yourself the whole time, but then the person who “Seeing you play, sitting right there – it added a whole other level to the whole thing. It was very intense. But you know, then it got the response that it did.”

In fact, at age 25, Spaeny won the best actress award for the film at the festival, and Coppola noted that Priscilla Presley was “moved” by the performance and the entire film. “I was proud of it,” she added. “I had shown her an earlier cut before and that was the scariest thing. And I was so relieved when she said, “That was my life,” and that she really felt like Cailee was showing how she felt. It was really moving to have that experience.”

You can experience it Priscilla when it hits theaters on November 3rd.

Charles Jones

Charles Jones is a WSTNewsPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Charles Jones joined WSTNewsPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: charlesjones@wstnewspost.com.

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