Director Sofia Coppola discusses Priscilla

October 28, 2023 DGA Membership Screening Q&As in LA & NY

A teenager and a rock star fall in love and get married in Director Sofia Coppola’s biographical drama, Priscilla.

Based on the 1985 memoir Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley, Coppola’s film recounts the tale of how young Priscilla Beaulieu met rock-and-roll superstar Elvis Presley, and how their relationship became the stuff of legend.

On October 15, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Coppola discussed the making of Priscilla during a Q&A moderated by Director Celine Song (Past Lives). She also spoke about the film in a conversation moderated by Director Paul Schrader (Master Gardener) following the New York screening on October 28.

During the Los Angeles conversation, Coppola spoke about how the relatability of Presley’s book moved her to make the film. “When I read Elvis and Me, I was just kind of reading it for fun. Then I was really touched by her story and how relatable it was. I didn't think I had anything in common with her experience, but she talks about being a new kid at school or your first kiss or going into a guy's bedroom for the first time or becoming a mother…  I could connect with these universal themes, but in this really crazy setting of Elvis’ Memphis wasteland.”

She also revealed some of the challenges she faced in achieving that goal. “We re-built Graceland in Toronto on a stage and I've never shot all on a stage. It was really scrappy, we shot in Toronto in 30 days, and we had to fit so much of her life and so much into that time. But it was great. We had the Germany house right next to the Graceland living room and bedroom. We would just hop back and forth.”

Coppola’s other directorial credits include the feature films On the Rocks, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, The Bling Ring, La Traviata and The Beguiled. She was nominated for DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for her 2003 feature, Lost in Translation; and for the 2015 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials for her work on A Very Murray Christmas.

Coppola has been a DGA member since 2000.


Q&A photos by Shane Karns (LA) & Marcie Revens (NY) – Print courtesy of A24

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