It’s been a pandemic-long amount of time since the phrase any indie film darling craves, “written and directed by Sofia Coppola” has been uttered.
Nonetheless, this year marks Coppola’s, and more importantly, her dreamlike and ethereal aesthetic, return to the silver screen, with the poster girl for the sumptuously sullen staging her comeback with Priscilla. Coppola’s upcoming biopic follows in the shadow of fellow suture Baz Luhrmann’s award-winning Elvis, with the 52-year-old instead choosing to spotlight Priscilla Presley née Beaulieu.
Adapting Presley’s 1985 biography, Elvis And Me, Coppola has cast Australia’s own Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) and newcomer Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy, Mare of Easttown) as Elvis and Priscilla Presley respectively, in turn telling Priscilla’s story of how a 14-year-old living on an army base in West Germany met and married the King of Rock.
It’s a project that even propelled Coppola to finally join Instagram, where she shared behind-the-scenes snippets of the film’s stills, set design and the ever-important costume department.
Now, Coppola has released a 45-second preview of her masterful visual poetry, with her quintessential hazy silhouettes and alternative synth soundtrack proving that Sofia is indeed the number one proprietor of filming an empyrean existence. With Priscilla herself onboard as a producer and the film being distributed by independent juggernaut A24, this pastel soaked 60s dreamscape is guaranteed to become our idée fixe come its release.
In the teaser trailer, Coppola tentatively unveils this tender portrait of a bygone era where Presley blossomed from the acme of a teenage schoolgirl to become the template of the rockstar wife, all while grappling with addiction, extramarital affairs and a romance marred by outside influences. Oh, and montages of Priscilla achieving her iconic winged eyeliner.
Given that Coppola’s inimitable humanist aesthetic has similarities to the Southern Gothic visual language of Ethel Cain and the coquettish and nostalgic themes of Lana Del Rey, the Sofiaphiles are also demanding new original music to accompany the tortured love story.
Speaking on making the film, Coppola added that the project emerged from her being moved by Priscilla’s memoir. “I was just so interested in Priscilla’s story and her perspective on what it all felt like to grow up as a teenager in Graceland,” Coppola revealed. “She was going through all the stages of young womanhood in such an amplified world—kinda similar to Marie Antoinette.”
As for achieving the candy-coloured and sepia-toned world of the 50s and 60s? I’m so in love with the style of the late ’60s. I’m excited to do something rooted in that Americana style for the first time. And Priscilla is a quintessential glamour icon. I love that she was always done up. They were extremely dedicated to fashion, so it’s been fun to dip into an era when everyone still got dressed up.”
There’s no word on the film’s release date, but we’ll be taking cues from both Coppola and Presley and donning our finest frocks and flocking to our nearest movie theatre.
Watch the trailer for ‘Priscilla’ here and below: