Lisa Marie Presley was, by all accounts, proudly supportive of “Elvis,” director Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic about her father, Elvis Presley. But she appears to have had a considerably different take on Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” which zooms in on the life of her mother, Priscilla Presley.
On Thursday, Variety published excerpts of two emails purportedly sent by Lisa Marie Presley to Coppola last year in which she blasts the “Priscilla” script as “shockingly vengeful” and “very dark and jaded” while urging the Oscar-winning filmmaker to abandon the project.
Among the specific points that Lisa Marie Presley took issue with was the script’s portrayal of her legendary father, who died in 1977 at age 42.
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” she wrote. “As his daughter, I don’t read this and see any of my father in this character. 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?”
In a second email, she recalled a conversation she’d had with one of her twin daughters, Harper Lockwood, over how the movie would subject her family to unwanted media attention after the 2020 death of her son, Benjamin Keough.
“I had to explain that we are going to have to endure another hit in our lives,” she wrote. “That there is going to be a movie about her grandfather that is going to try to make him look really, really bad but it’s not true. I had to explain that her beloved grandmother is supporting it. These two little girls have been through so much in the past 7 years, enduring my divorce and horrific custody battle and then losing their brother. We’ve all been drowning.”
After noting that she feared her mother “doesn’t understand the intentions behind this film or the outcome it will have,” Lisa Marie Presley alluded to Coppola’s own family, which includes five-time Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola.
“I would think of all people that you would understand how this would feel,” she wrote. She also pledged to “go against you, my mother and this film publicly” by the time “Priscilla” hit the big screen, even though production had not yet begun at the time.
According to Variety, the emails were sent in September 2022, about four months before Lisa Marie Presley’s death at age 54. When the publication asked Coppola for comment, a representative responded with “words she expressed to [Lisa Marie] Presley in response” to the emails.
“I hope that when you see the final film you will feel differently,” Coppola’s statement read, “and understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity.”
“Priscilla” is based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, “Elvis and Me.” The movie opened in theaters nationally this week, starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as Priscilla and Elvis Presley. Reviews have been mostly positive, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it “an impeccable union of director and subject.”
“I was a little bit older in life than in numbers, and that was the attraction,” she said. “And you know, people think, ‘Oh, it was sex, it was this’ ― not at all. I never had sex with him. He was very kind, very soft, very loving. But he also respected the fact that I was only 14 years old. We were more in mind and thought. And that was our relationship.”