Before her death in January at age 54, Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and wife Priscilla, reportedly lashed out at the way her dad was depicted in the script for Sofia Coppola’s new biopic about her mom, Priscilla.reported on Thursday (Nov. 2) that it had obtained two emails Lisa Marie sent to Coppola in which she asked the director to reconsider her take on the couple’s love story to spare her family from public embarrassment.
“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. I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father,” Lisa Marie reportedly wrote in two messages she sent to Coppola about four hours apart last September. “I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?”
In the messages, Lisa Marie was said to have asked the Oscar-winning director to not further strain her already brittle relationship with mother Priscilla or shine a spotlight on Elvis’ living grandchildren while they were grieving the loss of Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020.
Coppola’s biopic is based on Priscilla’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me, which depicts the couple’s controversial relationship that began in Germany in 1959 when the singer was 24 and Priscilla was 14. At the point that Lisa Marie sent the emails Coppola had not begun shooting the movie, but Lisa Marie reportedly made it clear that she would condemn the project and the participation of her estranged mother, who is an executive producer on the project and who has been part of A24’s publicity campaign for it; Priscilla had a limited Oct. 27 opening and expands to more screen today (Nov. 3).
“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,” Presley reportedly wrote to Coppola. The director commented to Variety through a rep, who shared how Coppola reportedly responded to Lisa Marie after receiving the emails.
“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,” Coppola wrote.
In her emails, Lisa Marie worried that Priscilla did not understand how the shocking age gap between Elvis (played by Euphoria‘s Jacob Elordi) and Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny) would translate for modern audiences. “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.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone this month, Coppola — also the scion of a world-renowned father, director Francis Ford Coppola — said she strives not to be “judgmental” about any of the characters in her films and tries to be as sympathetic as possible. “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?’” she told the magazine. During interviews at the Venice Film Festival in August, Priscilla once again clarified that she and Elvis were not sexually intimate when she was 14.
In her emails, however, Lisa Marie said she couldn’t understand Coppola’s need to “take my father down on the heels of such an incredible film [Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 musical biopic Elvis] using the excuse that you are trying to tell my mother’s story, but from your very dark and jaded reality.”