Priscilla: everything you should know about Sofia Coppola’s controversial new Presley biopic

The full lengh trailer for Priscilla, Sofia Coppola’s controversial biopic about the romance between music icon Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla, has just dropped and has ramped up even more buzz for the already highly-anticipated film.

The nearly two-minute trailer shows the actress Cailee Spaeny as a teenage Priscilla, who is getting to know the megastar. It then shows the young woman being sucked into his complicated universe: Elvis buys her new clothes, and asks her to dye her hair black and wear more eye make up. The trailer shows crowds of fans surrounding the couple, along with snippets of their glamorous life as they pose for photoshoots and party by pools.

Then the trailer shows the darker side of the relationship, as Priscilla takes pills, the couple fights, and Elvis denies cheating rumours.

As the trailer closes Priscilla says, “I want a life of my own.”

Ever since it was revealed that the film was in the works, fans of both Coppola and Presley have been on tenterhooks waiting for the movie’s release. Viewers questioned whether the biopic would gloss over the pair’s problematic age gap and stormy romance, as has historically been the case in most documentaries and films. Meanwhile, Elvis’ estate slammed the project as “a horrible college movie”.

With so much talk about the new film, here’s everything to know about Priscilla.

What’s the film about?

Priscilla tells the Presleys’ love story but from Priscilla’s perspective – it’s based on her autobiography Elvis & Me and tracks the actress’ life from when she first met the singer in 1959, to their later marriage.

The biopic, which promises to be an “intimate” portrait of the couple’s life together, will also star Euphoria actor Jacob Elordi as Elvis.

Is Priscilla Presley on board with the film?

Priscilla met Elvis when she was just 14 years old (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)
Priscilla met Elvis when she was just 14 years old (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)

Yes. While Elvis’ estate branded the film “horrible”, the 78-year-old actress has said she’s supportive of the film and keen to see the adaptation of her memoir Elvis & Me brought to life by the “masterful” Sofia Coppola.

Speaking to TMZ in June, Priscilla said: “I am very excited to see the interpretation of my book by the masterful Sofia Coppola. She has such an extraordinary perspective and I have always been such an admirer of her work. I’m certain this movie will take everyone on an emotional journey.”

Although the couple split in 1975, just a few years before the singer’s death, Priscilla has tried for decades to preserve Elvis’ music legacy, and was part of the team who first opened up their Graceland mansion to fans.

The pair met when Priscilla was 14 years old and Elvis was 24. They married seven years later in 1967 at an intimate ceremony in Las Vegas. They would have one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, who died in January aged 54 of a cardiac arrest.

Will the film stay true to life and chart the couple’s many problems?

The couple wed in Las Vegas in 1967 (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)
The couple wed in Las Vegas in 1967 (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)

Yes, the film promises to show some of the more uncomfortable aspects of the relationship.

Priscilla did not shy away from sharing some of her difficult experiences with the singer in her book, including that he gave her potent prescription drugs which were highly addictive, and would knock her out for days when she complained about insomnia. Though the two presented an image of a perfect romance to the cameras, things were apparently often stormy behind closed doors.

Priscilla also detailed how distant their relationship became soon after marriage and how much she had to contend with his demands and mood swings. It’s expected that much of this will be detailed in the film.

Will Sofia Coppola make this one of the best Presley films ever?

The film has been directed by Sofia Coppola, the award-winning director of Lost In Translation and The Virgin Suicides (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)
The film has been directed by Sofia Coppola, the award-winning director of Lost In Translation and The Virgin Suicides (Priscilla, Official Trailer HD, A24)

From The Virgin Suicides to Marie Antoinette and The Beguiled, Coppola, who both directed Priscilla and was its screenwriter, has historically been praised for how well she explores stories about women from unexpected angles.

She said she had wanted to make the film “for some time,” and was determined to fully capture Presley’s voice from the best selling memoir.

“Priscilla is the real focus of it,” Coppola told Vogue. “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 [Luhrmann] 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.”

When will the new film be released?

The film will be released in the UK on January 5, 2024.

What other biopics have been made?

The tale of Priscilla and Elvis has been explored many times before with a number of films about the star’s lives. The first Elvis biopic was released in 1979 and charted the legend’s life up until 1970. It was released in Europe and Australia after success on US television and starred Kurt Russell as Elvis Presley.

All in all, there have been more than 30 biopics made about the star’s life, with the most recent one released in 2022. Titled Elvis, the award-winning biographical film was directed by Baz Luhrmann and followed the life of Elvis when he was under the management of Colonel Tom Parker. It starred Austin Butler in a multi-award-winning turn as Elvis and Tom Hanks as Parker.

Priscilla will be released on January 5, 2024