Cailee Spaeny, star of “Priscilla,” says that she doesn’t want to label Elvis Presley’s relationship with Priscilla Presley as grooming despite their infamous age difference. She told Page Six exclusively at the 2023 Gotham Awards that the movie is trying to put a human story that is nuanced and complicated on screen. She added that there isn’t a lot of space for complicated stories and that it was exciting to bring the polarizing relationship to the big screen so that viewers could decide how they feel about it themselves.
Priscilla was just 14 when she met a 24-year-old Elvis in 1959 while he was stationed in Germany. The couple embarked on a relationship that saw Priscilla move to Elvis’ Graceland estate in 1963 while still in high school. They wed in 1967, weeks before her 22nd birthday, and she gave birth to their only child, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968. The movie is based on Priscilla’s memoir “Elvis and Me” and stars Jacob Elordi as Elvis and Spaeny as Priscilla. Sofia Coppola wrote, directed and produced it.
The film has not been without controversy, as private emails from Lisa Marie to Coppola leaked ahead of its Nov. 3 wide release. In the messages, the “Lights Out” singer pleaded with the filmmaker to reconsider her portrayal of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Lisa Marie also threatened to voice her feelings publicly. She penned the emails just four months before she died of cardiac arrest in January at age 54.
Spaeny told Page Six that her “only point of contact” while making the movie was Priscilla, 78, and that she made “sure that she felt honor[ed] and that I asked her the right questions and that she felt safe during that process.” She also called the relationship “complicated” and said that she wanted Priscilla to feel honored.
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