Priscilla trailer impresses fans with ‘toxic’ portrayal of Elvis Presley: ‘Incredible visual storytelling’

Sofia Coppola’s highly anticipated film is already being compared to Baz Luhrmann’s biopic from last summer

Nicole Vassell
Sunday 08 October 2023 13:47 BST
Priscilla trailer

Film enthusiasts have shared their reactions to the official trailer for Priscilla, with many praising its depiction of the controversial age-gap relationship at its centre.

The forthcoming biopic, directed by Sofia Coppola, tells the life story of Priscilla Presley, wife of Elvis, as she journeyed from being a schoolgirl to the wife of the most famous man in the world.

Cailee Spaeny plays the title role, while Jacob Elordi plays Elvis Presley. The couple met in 1959, when Priscilla was just 14 years old and the “Suspicious Minds” singer was 24, in Germany, where Elvis was serving as part of the US Army.

On Tuesday (3 October), the official trailer for the film was released online. In the minute-and-a-half-long clip, viewers see the beginnings of their relationship, including Priscilla’s father asking the singer why he is so interested in dating his young daughter.

“Well, sir, I happen to be very fond of your daughter,” we hear Elvis respond as a scene shows him putting a hand on Priscilla’s knee in a cinema. “She’s much more mature than her age.”

Later in the trailer, Elvis advises a fresh-faced, brown-haired Priscilla to wear “black hair and more make-up”.

“What do you mean, you don’t know if you like it?” Elvis asks sternly when Priscilla questions her new look.

The trailer then takes a darker turn as the rock’n’roll star displays a volatile temper behind closed doors, at one point throwing a chair against the wall.

The clip concludes with Priscilla behind the wheel of a car, as her voice is heard saying: “I want a life of my own.”

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Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as Priscilla and Elvis Presley

In response to the film teaser, many have shared their anticipation to see more while praising Coppola’s stylistic choices.

One Twitter/X user listed particular elements that stood out to them, writing: “‘She’s much more mature than her age’, the foot tapping, the way she glances away and back like she’s unsure of herself, going from hair up to letting it down, the rookie mistake while playing poker, bare-faced to being forced to wear heavy makeup… SOFIA COPPOLA YOU DID IT AGAIN.”

“If there’s anything Jacob Elordi is gonna do it’s successfully play a toxic man,” added another, referring to the actor’s role as brooding teenager Nate Jacobs in the racy HBO drama Euphoria.

Others compared this brief look at the film to last year’s biopic, Elvis, starring Austin Butler and directed by Baz Luhrmann.

“The sudden tone shift, the cinematography, the music, Cailee Spaeny’s line delivery at the end, Jacob Elordi playing a terrible man as usual…. Elvis (2022) found deceased,” determined one commenter.

Elsewhere, others pointed out the effect of Elordi, who stands at 6ft 5in, towering over Spaeny, who is significantly shorter at 5ft 1in, to highlight the couple’s power imbalance.

“Casting Elordi who is significantly taller than Elvis and Spaeny who is shorter than Priscilla is incredible visual storytelling,” wrote one fan.

Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as Priscilla and Elvis Presley

Elvis and Priscilla married in 1967, when Priscilla was 21. The following year, they had their only child, daughter Lisa Marie, before divorcing in 1973 after a year-long separation.

In 1977, Elvis died of a heart attack aged 42. Lisa Marie died in January 2023 of a bowel obstruction, due to complications of weight-loss surgery several years prior.

Priscilla, now 78, spoke out against criticisms of her and Elvis’s age gap in September, claiming that they were “in line in thought” despite their 10-year age difference when they first met.

Priscilla will be in cinemas on 26 December. You can read The Independent’s three-star review here.

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