Elvis Insider: Lisa Marie Presley didn’t like the Priscilla script

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Baz Lurmann’s Elvis was made in cooperation with the Elvis Presley Estate, and Lisa Marie, Priscilla, and Riley Keough all had good things to say about it, which are excerpted on the movie’s Wikipedia page. But Sofia Coppola’s movie Priscilla was made without the estate. They refused to license any of Elvis’ songs to the project. Sofia and Priscilla worked closely in developing the movie, which in my view is all that matters, since it’s Priscilla’s story. But the Elvis Presley estate is not happy with the movie and has been sending “sources” to the media to trash talk it. Now an Estate “insider” is telling Page Six that Lisa Marie Presley (who died in January of this year) didn’t like the script. This is also confirmed by a “production source” who worked on the movie. I think the bigger story here is that the Estate is shook about the way that Sofia’s movie presents the relationship Elvis had with Priscilla.

Sources tell Page Six that it is not being warmly received by Presley insiders, and that before her sudden death in January, there was tension between Lisa Marie Presley and Coppola over its portrayal of her father.

Even the casting is causing unhappiness among the Presley camp: Spaen, at 5’1″ is towered over by Elorrdi, at 6’5″ a full 5 inches taller than the real Elvis.

The intent was surely to make them feel even more different than they were,” says an Elvis estate source: “Even down to the casting, you have this huge man and this tiny girl. It feels like somebody wanted to grossly misrepresent Elvis and Priscilla and their relationship.”

And the fact that the movie focuses on Priscilla being 14 when she met Elvis is also a source of discontent, with a source saying, “Elvis did nothing not within the nature of what Priscilla’s parents were ok with.”

Sources tell us Lisa Marie was not thrilled with the script for “Priscilla” — and thought that her mother was being manipulated by the film’s makers.

“Lisa was not happy with the movie, it was more worrying about the script, its quality and that Priscilla seems to have been taken advantage of,” said the Elvis source, who has seen the movie and deemed it “horrible.”

Another insider who knew Lisa added: “Lisa wasn’t a fan, she didn’t like the script.”

Production sources acknowledged that Lisa Marie had been unhappy before seeing the script.

[From Page Six]

Another interesting tidbit in this article: they claim that Priscilla initially kept her involvement in Sofia Coppola’s movie a secret from her daughter, and Lisa Marie asked her not to sign on as a producer. I understand why Lisa Marie wanted to protect her dad. But I also think Priscilla has the right to tell her story. The Estate talks about Sofia’s movie like it’s some salacious tell-all. But anyone who’s familiar with Sofia’s work knows that’s not how she operates. Because some of her films are light on dialogue (like Marie Antoinette) I can see why Lisa Marie might have worried from the script alone. Apparently Priscilla has fewer speaking lines than Elvis. But Sofia’s movies also use imagery and atmosphere to make their points. And the fact that Priscilla spends so much of the movie not saying anything probably reflects the imbalance of power between them, and the way that Elvis leaned on her emotionally. She was supposed to listen to him, not to be listened to.

Check out the grammatical knots in how the Estate denies Elvis grooming Priscilla: “Elvis did nothing not within the nature of what Priscilla’s parents were ok with.” That is nonsensical. Denials like that just hum with the truth they’re trying to push away. Even if Priscilla’s parents were “ok” with Elvis dating her when she was 14 and he was 24…grooming is grooming is grooming.

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31 Responses to “Elvis Insider: Lisa Marie Presley didn’t like the Priscilla script”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    I find it hard to stomach when reading/watching older men prey upon young girls. And they are girls. And I understand societal norms were different but this was a young girl and he was a man. He was grooming her. What does a 24 year old have in common with a 14 year old?????
    “Even if Priscilla’s parents were “ok” with Elvis dating her when she was 14 and he was 24…grooming is grooming is grooming.” THIS 100%

  2. Stef says:

    Having recently read Priscilla’s “Elvis and Me”, which is what the script was based on, I can’t wait to see the movie.

    Elvis absolutely groomed her, no two ways about it. He even took control of how she looked and dressed, instructing her to wear a lot of makeup, big hair, fake lashes, etc. He constantly instructed her on how to behave and how to treat him. When she stepped out of line, he’d remind her that many other girls would love to take her place.

    He also lived with an entourage 24/7, so there were plenty of witnesses to their life together – they were rarely alone.

    • Scorpiomoon says:

      Yeah, I’m not a huge Priscilla fan personally but having read “Elvis & Me” back in the day, it’s hard to deny he groomed her, even though the terminology wasn’t around back in the 1960s.

      Beyond his cheating on her with Ann Margret and how he controlled the way she dressed and wore her makeup, I recall he stopped wanting to be intimate with her once she got pregnant too—and not just during the pregnancy, but for the rest of their relationship because she was a mother and that was a huge turn-off for him. Considering she claimed she got pregnant on their wedding night, pretty rough way for him to start their marriage off. But their whole relationship was essentially all on his terms because he had all the power, until she divorced him and took Lisa.

      I also get why Lisa would have been uncomfortable; beyond it being her parents, her father’s legacy was also squarely on her shoulders for decades. She likely felt very protective of it, and Priscilla’s depiction of Elvis is absolutely going to invite all kinds of MeToo-type discussions once the movie comes out and young women have a chance to discover “Elvis and Me” themselves.

      But Priscilla has a right to share her story and it’s a very famous one, and a very relevant one for our times (famous man dazzles teen then grooms her etc). Also many folks have corroborated her side of how their 60s-era relationship went, she’s not lying.

  3. Boxy Lady says:

    Since Priscilla herself was so involved with this movie, I am not as interested in the opinions of other Elvis adherents. Priscilla knows what she went through better than anyone. Some people only want the fairy tale and not the truth.

    • ML says:

      Oh Boxy Lady, I’m the opposite! Since that shifty, mansplaining gossip site, PageSix, is saying that Elvis’ daughter was against this movie AFTER she can no longer say anything about it and AFTER the movie has been out, and this article mentions Elvis’ estate, but NOT specifically his granddaughter, Riley…I am very interested as to WHO exactly is have ng a bitch&moan session with Murdoch’s gossip rag. Clearly Priscilla was okay with this, she was groomed and had “challenges” being married to Elvis, and someone now has a huge issue with that. Who?

    • tealily says:

      I agree with both of you! Priscilla’s opinion is the only one that matters. And who knows who these people are putting out dissenting opinions. I would be interested to know, but it doesn’t mean that I care what they have to say!

  4. Amy Bee says:

    Yeah it’s time for everybody to admit that Elvis groomed Priscilla. There’s no excuse for a 24 year old man having a relationship with a 14 year old girl.

  5. D says:

    I’m old enough to remember the TV movie made from this book back in the 80s and even then, as a young teen girl, I was creeped out by how he pursued a 14 year old. She was very much a kid and he very intentionally groomed and controlled her from the beginning.

    • Latte says:

      I remember this tv movie! I felt the same way

    • Seraphina says:

      I am not sure which one I watched but I too was creeped out watching it.

    • tealily says:

      Yes!! Seeing that movie was the first time I stopped and thought “Ohhhhhhh…” It changed to way I thought about Elvis.

      • Scorpiomoon says:

        My grandmother was a huge Elvis fan (to the point she named my mother Lisa-Marie because of him) and always worshipped him.

        That’s how I came across “Elvis & Me” in the 2000s; she had a copy even though she claimed to hate Priscilla. I read it out of curiosity one weekend when I stayed at her house and never looked at Elvis the same way again.

        I remember asking my grandmother about it—about how she felt about her idol getting with a 14 year old and how he seemed like a creep for that. She flipped out, insisted Priscilla was a manipulator and “got around” and it wasn’t Elvis’ fault, and even at like 14 I was like … yeah no that’s just twisted. Never brought it up again but big yikes.

  6. C says:

    “Elvis did nothing not within the nature of what Priscilla’s parents were ok with.”

    They were fine with handing her over as if she were an object so that’s not a ringing endorsement.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      $$$$ in their eyes. Ka-ching!

    • SarahCS says:

      Yep, nice try to slip that line in and act like there’s nothing to see here. It breaks my heart how many stories we know about of families happily handing their your daughters over to predatory men. Just because it’s your family doesn’t mean they have your best interests at heart.

  7. Jay says:

    Yeah, just because this was not unheard of at the time (I read that Jerry Lee Lewis married a 13 year old when he was 22), that doesn’t mean we (and the film) can’t interrogate it.

    Who cares if Priscilla’s parents approved? As a defense, I think that makes it worse!

    • Blujfly says:

      I was thinking of Jerry Lee Lewis, too, but he actually took criticism for that and the media focused on the fact that she was his second cousin. There was a period of time it destroyed his career. Can’t say the same here.

    • Janiceburden says:

      …and she was his cousin to boot.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      Yep. All those guys hing out together, too. Back when the Louisiana Hayride was a thing my mom hung out with them a couple of times (even Elvis before he was super famous). Mom was about 16-17 at the time and a real looker. She thought they were all sleazy and trash.

      So yeah, people need to get over the hero worship of Elvis and just admit he was a talented performer who was also a mere mortal who had serious issues and problematic behavior.

  8. I am from Memphis with family having ties to Elvis. My grandmother was great friends with his hairdresser, my uncle went to school with him and he and my aunt went to the same parties, so knew him well. He absolutely groomed her, and may not have had intercourse until marriage, but a whole lot went on from the Memphis rumors at the time.

  9. ElsaBug says:

    I never really saw Priscilla in Riley, but I had to do a double take on that last picture!

  10. Brassy Rebel says:

    The estate doesn’t like it because, from all I have read, it is totally accurate. Elvis was a groomer unable to relate to adult females as equals. And Priscilla has every right to tell her truth.

  11. VilleRose says:

    Maybe the script is really terrible and gets some details wrong, we’ll have to reserve judgment until we get to see it. But Elvis’s estate can’t be mad for it being historically accurate about Elvis being 24 and Priscilla being 14 when they first met. You can’t whitewash that detail away, it’s a huge part of the story. Priscilla’s parents being fine with their daughter dating a man when she was only 14 doesn’t make it more acceptable. Part of the Elvis story is he groomed his teenage wife.

  12. Lau says:

    I don’t see what can be “grossly misrepresent[ed]”, is the estate trying to make it seem as if it wasn’t grooming ? Also Coppola obviously looked for the tallest actor she could cast in order to symbolise the imbalance in this relationship.

  13. Jananell says:

    Elvis groomed Priscilla’s parents too.

  14. Sof says:

    Two things are true at once: Priscilla was groomed and deserves to tell her story. Also, Priscilla loves money and has always taken advantage of his late ex-husband’s fame.
    It’s obvious for anyone who has watched Luhrmann’s Elvis that Priscilla was involved in the script (they erased every other woman in his life, even his fiancee!) and participated in the promotion tour behaving like his eternal widow… then comes the news that she was still getting paid by his Estate, whithout her own daughter knowing about it. Then her daughter dies and she challenges the will that benefits her own grandchildren, there’s an agreement that she will get paid a final time for her services and suddenly she is part of a movie that trashes Elvis’s persona (justifiably, I’m 100% with her on that part). It makes sense that his people is not happy with this.

    Also: “Elvis did nothing not within the nature of what Priscilla’s parents were ok with.” UGH! As if parents taking advantage/selling their own children is something unheard of!

    • Talia says:

      Priscilla’s character today can quite possibly be traced back to the childhood sexual abuse she suffered (and we shouldn’t mince words, that’s what it was if Elvis had *any* sexual contact with her when she was underage).

      Many children who are sexually abused over a long period end up as damaged adults (although of course many don’t).

      In Priscilla’s case the gaslighting from the world as a whole (so lucky to be with Elvis) made it even more likely she would suffer serious long term effects even when she got away from Elvis.

      • Scorpiomoon says:

        Whether they had sex or not frankly doesn’t matter to me in terms of whether she was a victim or not. I’d say she was; she started living with him when she was still in high school and she had all kinds of pressure to conform to his lifestyle, his preferences, etc. That was grooming straight up and she had no family around her.

        You bring up excellent points about how she was gaslit too—the whole world would have been saying how lucky she was back then, plus Elvis made it regularly known she was disposable to him if she didn’t continuously conform to his standards.

        As for how she is now, I’d say it’s also fair to consider her teen years and the damage of all that on her. Frankly speaking, I’d want to squeeze every last dime I could out of my ex’s estate too, especially if that was the dude who abused me as a teen while the whole world applauded and told me how lucky I was for it. They had a kid so I’m sure there are still some things about Elvis that Priscilla has never said publicly, but it’s kind of unfair for people to say she has no right to tell her story. She’s been playing second fiddle to Elvis and his legacy pretty much her entire life; she deserves to be centered in a story from her own perspective for a change imo.

  15. Concern Fae says:

    People also need to realize that PR firms for other films in the Oscar race absolutely track down people who aren’t happy about the competition and let outlets know about them. It’s just amazing to see them pop up every year.

    This could, of course, be the Elvis estate being publicly tetchy all on their own, because the reality of the Elvis-Priscilla relationship is not something they want looked at too closely.

  16. theotherviv says:

    I think Priscilla saw her chance to rewrite history and grabbed it. Doesn’t mean it‘s all untrue, just that she gets to twist it and I doubt we will see anything in that movie that makes her look too unfavorable unless it’s interpreted as „young/naive“. I feel Lisa Marie was used to some frequent sneaky shenanigans from her mom. Hiding something like that from your child in such a family setting does not seem like healthy behaviour.

    • Scorpiomoon says:

      I don’t think Priscilla has to rewrite much history when it comes to their pre-Lisa years. Her story has been out there since the 1980s and it’s always been more or less consistent with what others have said about her time with him in the 1960s too.

      Some folks claim they were fully sexual when she was underage; that seems to always be the biggest source of contention. Priscilla maintains they were not before marriage and I’m inclined to take that at face value (although most likely, they just did things that couldn’t result in a pregnancy). Either way, the most damning things about their relationship—that she was 14 when it started, that she started living with him while still in high school, that he controlled how she dressed and looked, that he was abusing drugs even then and she had to learn how to “work” within his druggy bros club—have all been confirmed by more folks than just Priscilla and she has photographic proof to back up where she was during these years. No rewriting of history needed, especially if Sofia sticks to the pre-Lisa years.