Critics are raving about Sofia Coppola’s latest film, “Priscilla,” based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, which documented her relationship with Elvis Presley. One person who was reportedly not a fan of the movie’s script? Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.
The Times has verified that the email exchange between Coppola and Lisa Marie did take place as described by Variety.
Lisa Marie told the “Virgin Suicides” director that the writing was “shockingly vengeful and contemptuous.” She also claimed to fear that the movie would bring unwanted attention to Elvis and Priscilla’s grandchildren, who had already been grieving the loss of Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin Keough.
Lisa Marie’s emails, said to have been sent in September 2022, focused especially on how her parents’ relationship — the subject of her mother’s memoir, “Elvis and Me” — would be perceived by modern audiences. The couple first began dating when Elvis was 24 and Priscilla was 14.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative. As his daughter, I don’t read this and see any of my father in this character,” Lisa Marie wrote. “I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father. I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?”
She added, “I will be forced to be in a position where I will have to openly say how I feel about the film and go against you, my mother and this film publicly.”
Priscilla served as one of the executive producers of the film and has been making the rounds to promote the movie.
Representatives for Coppola declined to further comment on the content of the emails.
“I am worried that my mother isn’t seeing the nuance here or realizing the way in which Elvis will be perceived when this movie comes out,” Lisa Marie wrote. “I feel protective over my mother who has spent her whole life elevating my father’s legacy. I am worried she doesn’t understand the intentions behind this film or the outcome it will have.”
Coppola responded to Lisa Marie, writing, “I hope that when you see the final film you will feel differently, and understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity.”
Lisa Marie told Coppola that 2022’s “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler, was an example of a film that treated her family fairly and was something they could feel “proud” about.
“Elvis” was “a ray of light that hit us last year … it made [her family] so proud and honored to be [Elvis’] granddaughters,” Lisa Marie wrote. “It made them feel blessed for a moment and less cursed in life. It made us all so proud because it was a true depiction of who he really was.”
“Priscilla” opens in theaters in wide release on Nov. 3.
“Time passes in a brisk blur of tabloid headlines, album covers and ripped calendar pages, but the world that Coppola builds for her heroine holds together with beautiful coherence, right up until the moment it’s ready to fall apart,” Times film critic Justin Chang wrote in his review of the movie.
“And fall apart it does, with a swiftness that can leave you and ‘Priscilla’ itself feeling slightly destabilized,” Chang continued. “There is much more to Priscilla Presley’s story left untold here: motherhood (Lisa Marie appears briefly here, at different ages), her own infidelity, her future romances, her friendship with Elvis until his death in 1977, her film career, ‘The Naked Gun’ movies. … But with piercing matter-of-factness, Coppola ends this movie, her strongest in more than a decade, at just the right moment: when a dream finally dies, and the thrill is well and truly gone.”
This story originally appeared on LATimes