Though Priscilla Presley was not initially part of the Venice Film Festival press conference to discuss Sofia Coppola’s biographical drama about her relationship with Elvis Presley, she jumped in from the audience when asked what it was like to see her life portrayed on screen.
“It’s very difficult to sit and watch a film about you, about your life, about your love,” Priscilla Presley began as tears welled in her eyes. After taking a moment to collect herself, she continued: “Sofia did an amazing job. She did her homework, we spoke a couple of times and I really put everything out for her that I could.”
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“Priscilla,” starring Cailee Spaeny in the title role and Jacob Elordi as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, shows Priscilla’s relationship with Elvis from their very first meeting, when she was only 14. As she is whisked away into his world, Priscilla comes of age and finds her voice. However, she insisted at the press conference that Elvis did not take advantage of her youth.
“It was very difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me and why,” she said. “And I really do think because I was more of a listener. Elvis would pour his heart out to me in every way in Germany: his fears, his hopes, the loss of his mother — which he never, ever got over. And I was the person who really, really sat there to listen and to comfort him. That was really our connection. Even though I was 14, I was actually a little bit older in life — not in numbers. That was the attraction. People think, ‘Oh, it was sex.’ No, it wasn’t. I never had sex with him. He was very kind, very soft, very loving, but he also respected the fact I was only 14 years old. We were more in line in thought, and that was our relationship.”
She added, “I didn’t know why he put so much trust in me, but he did. And I never, ever, ever told anyone that I was seeing him, and that was another issue that he loved, is the fact that I never gave him up in any way. I never told anyone at school that I was seeing him. So, we built a relationship and then our relationship went on until I left. And it wasn’t because I didn’t love him — he was the love of my life. It was the lifestyle that was so difficult for me, and I think any woman can relate to that. But it didn’t mar our relationship, we still remained very close. And of course, we had our daughter, and I made sure that he saw her all the time. It was like we never left each other.”
Earlier in the press conference, Coppola also discussed how she navigated just how young Priscilla was when she met Elvis. “I can go back to being that age and remember having a crush on an older guy and a rockstar,” she said. “I just imagined myself in her point of view.”
“Priscilla” premieres in theaters on Oct. 27 via A24.
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