Lisa Marie Presley confronted 'Priscilla' director Sofia Coppola about her 'vengeful and contemptuous' depiction of Elvis in emails before her death

Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley, and Sofia Coppola.
Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley, and Sofia Coppola.Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty; RB/Getty Images; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
  • Before her death, Lisa Marie Presley sent emails to Sofia Coppola asking her to rewrite her depiction of Elvis Presley in "Priscilla."

  • Lisa Marie Presley called the character of her father in the film "shockingly vengeful and contemptuous."

  • "Priscilla" has sparked conversation because Elvis and Priscilla Presley had a 10 year age gap and she was 14 when they met.

According to a report by Variety, in emails sent months before her death, Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley confronted "Priscilla" writer and director Sofia Coppola about what Lisa Marie Presley perceived as a "shockingly vengeful and contemptuous" depiction of her father in the film's script.

The two emails obtained by Variety were reportedly sent four hours apart in September 2022, weeks before production on the biopic about Lisa Marie Presley's mother Priscilla Presley was to begin.

"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. I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don't understand why?" Lisa Marie Presley wrote in one of the emails, according to Variety.

Sofia Coppola, Michael Lockwood, and Lisa Marie Presley in 2012.
Sofia Coppola, Michael Lockwood, and Lisa Marie Presley in 2012.Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

The singer, who died in Janurary 2023 at the age of 54, went on to say that if the script remained unchanged, "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."

A24, the company that distributes "Priscilla" in the US, declined Insider's request for comment. Priscilla Presley's representative didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

A representative for Coppola didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment but shared with Variety some of the filmmaker's response to Lisa Marie Presley in the September email exchange.

"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 reportedly wrote.

Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis in "Priscilla."
Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis in "Priscilla."A24

"Priscilla" is based on Priscilla Presley's 1985 memoir about her relationship with the king of pop. Priscilla Presley also serves as an executive producer of the film, which has sparked controversy because it depicts the age gap between Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley when they began dating in 1959. She was 14 and he was 24.

At a Q&A session after a screening of the film at the Venice Film Festival in September, Priscilla Presley said that she and Elvis Presley didn't have sex when she was 14. She explained that she was mature for her age and he was emotionally vulnerable with her, but "respected" the fact that she was a young teenager.

But per her emails in Variety, Lisa Marie Presley worried that if the film were made without changes, it would disrupt her relationship with her mother, which was already fragile. She was also worried that her mother was unprepared for how Elvis Presley would be perceived by the public in 2023.

Lisa Marie Presley and mother Priscilla Presley in 2005.
Lisa Marie Presley and mother Priscilla Presley in 2005.Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

"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 reportedly wrote in her emails. "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."

"Why are you coming for my Dad and my family?" Lisa Marie Presley reportedly asked Coppola, while also trying to appeal to the fact that the director also has a famous family.

Lisa Marie Presley also reportedly shared with Coppola that she had to explain to one of her now-15 year-old twins, Harper and Finley Lockwood, that a movie was coming out about her grandfather that was untrue and her grandmother supported it.

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