The filmmaker, who was honored with a Chanel and W magazine-hosted dinner to celebrate her new book, tells Priscilla Presley's story in the new movie 'Priscilla'
Sofia Coppola has made a biography movie before — but she couldn’t exactly ask its subject, French Queen Marie Antoinette, for input.
“I was excited, but I was really nervous [to meet her],” Coppola told PEOPLE on Thursday at a Chanel and W magazine-hosted dinner celebrating her new book. “She let me come interview her and ask her questions. And she was very, very sweet. But I was nervous — I was like, this is my opportunity to talk to the subject matter, which I’ve never done before.”
Priscilla — starring Jacob Elordi as the King and Cailee Spaeny as his actress ex-wife — is based upon Presley’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, which chronicles their life together from her perspective. Presley met the musician when she was just 14 years old, and he a decade older.
“She was very kind and let me call her a lot as a follow-up, so when I’d be looking over my notes I could keep calling her,” Coppola said. “When I read the book I was really surprised that she was going to high school and living in Elvis’s house.”
The Oscar-winning director, 52, said she’d always known Presley, 78, was younger than her famous ex, but was intrigued to learn just how she spent her long, lonely days in Graceland when he was out of town.
“Just to kind of hear all the details of her life was really fascinating,” Coppola said. “I remember being like, ‘What were you doing all day when you were just waiting at home and Elvis was away? What were you doing?’ I was really trying to understand what she was doing to fill her days when she wasn’t with him.”
Coppola, who is a long-standing artist collaborator for Chanel, also stressed the importance of wardrobe throughout the film, and explained how the different outfits Presley wears as she grows up are symbolic of her journey.
“The costumes are really important in showing her character and her transformation from being a teenage girl to a grown woman,” she said. “And all of the details, Stacey Battat, our costume designer, did an amazing job and really showed what she was going through emotionally. We wanted to contrast how young and innocent she was in the beginning to going into Graceland and becoming his ideal and ultimately finding herself.”
Priscilla, an A24 film, premiered earlier this month at the 2023 Venice Film Festival, and will hit theaters on Oct. 27.
As Coppola prepares for its release, she’s also celebrating the launch of her first book, Sofia Coppola Archive: 1999-2023.
To mark the occasion, the star — who first interned for Chanel in 1986 — was honored by the iconic fashion brand and W magazine with a chic dinner at Indochine in New York City on Thursday night.
Sofia Coppola Archive covers her entire film career, and includes pieces from her personal collection, including reference collages and annotated scripts.
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