Lisa Marie Presley criticized new “Priscilla” movie before her death, slammed “vengeful and contemptuous” depiction of dad Elvis

Decades after his death, Elvis Presley continues to be a cultural icon. He was the subject of last year’s award-winning blockbuster Elvis, and is also a major character in the upcoming biopic Priscilla, about his wife Priscilla Presley.

While Priscilla, 78, has been vocally supportive of the Sofia Coppola-directed film, one family member was reportedly appalled by the film’s negative depiction of the King of Rock and Roll — Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley, who slammed the script before her death in January.

Priscilla, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on Priscilla’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me. It stars Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi.

The film expands to theaters nationwide this weekend and has received acclaim from critics, currently standing at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is told from Priscilla’s point of view, and many of the reviews say it has a less-than-flattering depiction of Elvis: he’s reportedly depicted as manipulative, egotistical and verbally abusive.

(Original Caption) Las Vegas, Nev..Entertainer, Elvis Presley sits cheek to cheek wit his bride, the former Priscilla Ann Beaulieu, following their wedding May 1, 1967.

The film does not contain any of Elvis’ music. Many have pointed out that it’s a drastically darker take on The King’s life than Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, which was a major hit and Best Picture nominee last year.

Priscilla Presley has been a vocal supporter of Coppola’s film: “It is very difficult to sit and watch a film about you and about your life and about your love,” she said at this year’s Venice Film Festival, per Reuters. “I think Sophia did an amazing job. She did her homework.”


But one member of the Presley family was reportedly less-than-thrilled by the film: Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter Lisa Marie, who died in January at the age of 54.

According to Variety, Lisa Marie read the script and slammed its “shockingly vengeful and contemptuous” depiction of her father.

“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” Lisa Marie wrote in an email to Sofia Coppola, reportedly four months before her death. “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?”

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 23: Singer Lisa Marie Presley attends the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the grand opening of “Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Show – The Experience” at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on April 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage)
“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 Presley wrote, according to Variety. “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.”

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Coppola “not judgemental of any of the characters”

Coppola reportedly replied through a representative, saying she was “honoring” Priscilla and hoped Lisa Marie would feel differently when she saw the final product.

In other interviews, Coppola has defended her take: according to a Rolling Stone interview, she wants you to “judge for yourself” if Elvis was a “monster,” and said she wanted to explore the more unseemly side of the Elvis-Priscilla romance while still being sympathetic.

“I kept coming back to [Priscilla’s] perspective and her point of view,” she told Rolling Stone. “And I try not to be judgmental of any of the characters and really be as sympathetic as I can to each of them. And I’m really focused on her perspective, but even with the parents, you’re like, ‘How can anybody let their kid go live with Elvis that young?’”

Sixteen year old Priscilla Beaulieu sits before a portrait of a uniformed Elvis Presley as she writes the singer and film star a letter. Beaulieu, the daughter of an Air Force Captain, had dated Presley during the six weeks prior to his departure from Germany for his discharge from the United States Army on March 3, 1960. Wiesbaden, Germany

Priscilla: Elvis was “the love of my life”

The age gap between Priscilla and Elvis has long attracted controversy: she was 14 and he was a world-famous 24-year-old when they began their courtship. Many people, especially from today’s lens, feel their relationship was inappropriate and that the rock star was “grooming” his younger wife.

But Priscilla recently spoke up on this topic, saying that Elvis “respected” her age and that they were not sexually active when she was 14.

“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,” she said at a press conference, per People. “We were more in line in thought, and that was our relationship.”

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“It was very difficult for my parents to understand that Elvis would be so interested in me and why. 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.”

Elvis Presley and his wife, Priscilla, prepare to leave the hospital with their new daughter, Lisa Marie. Memphis, Tennessee, February 5, 1968.

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