TV & Movies

What Does The Presley Family Think Of Elvis?

“At the end of the day, we’re not going to tell Baz Luhrmann how to make a movie.”

Originally Published: 
'Elvis' (2022). Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, out now in theaters, has generated buzz since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, with critics praising Austin Butler’s “thrilling” performance as the titular king of rock n’ roll. But some of the best reviews are coming from the Presleys themselves. The family — including Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley, daughter Lisa Marie Presley, and granddaughter Riley Keough — has repeatedly spoken out in support of Luhrmann’s film.

Keough told Variety that Luhrmann sat down with the Presleys “for several hours” before production began, and that he was granted exclusive access to Elvis’ Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee to help him prepare. Keough also noted that despite the family’s extensive conversations with Luhrmann, they didn’t try to influence Elvis’ depiction in the film. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to tell Baz Luhrmann how to make a movie,” she said.

Below, everything the Presley family has said about Elvis.

Riley Keough Was “Honored” And “Emotional” After Watching Elvis.

Actor (and now director) Riley Keough — who is Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter and Elvis’ granddaughter — offered glowing praise for the film after its premiere.

“It was a very emotional experience. It’s very intense to watch when it’s your family,” Keough told Variety last month in Cannes. “I started crying five minutes in and didn’t stop. There’s a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that started around then for our family. I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence. Austin captured that so beautifully.”

Though the Zola star has paved her own way in the film industry, she was never considered to appear in Elvis, nor was she interested. “It’s a little too close … It’s intense enough to watch, I don’t want to act in it. It was never a conversation,” she told Variety. “I think there was a boundary there that felt respected in a nice way.”

Priscilla Presley Thinks The Film Is “Beautifully Done.”

Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ former wife, has played an active role in promoting the film in the months before its release. Most notably, she walked the red carpet with Butler at last month’s Met Gala, telling reporters how much she “loves” the biopic.

In April, she praised Elvis after attending a private screening with Jerry Schilling, Elvis’ former talent manager. She called Butler’s performance “outstanding” in her Facebook post, adding: “It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered … Halfway through the film Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW!!!” And in May, Priscilla again praised Elvis on social media. “[T]he words I heard from my daughter on how much she loved the film and that Riley will love it too when she sees it brought tears. I relived every moment in this film,” Priscilla wrote in the caption. “It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia.”

Lisa Marie Presley Believes Her Late Son Would Have “Absolutely Loved” Elvis.

Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis and Priscilla’s only child, has kept a low profile in recent years following the untimely death of her son, Benjamin, in 2020. However, the singer-songwriter applauded the film on Instagram last month, calling it “absolutely exquisite.”

“Navigating through this hideous grief that absolutely destroyed and shattered my heart and my soul into almost nothing has swallowed me whole … However, that being said, I do want to take a moment to let you know that I have seen Baz Luhrmann's movie Elvis twice now, and let me tell you that it is nothing short of spectacular,” she said. “It breaks my heart that my son isn’t here to see it. He would have absolutely loved it as well.”

She praised Butler’s “unprecedented” performance of her father, which she felt was done “accurately and respectfully.” She also mentioned that Academy members should take note of Butler, adding: “If he doesn’t get an Oscar for this, I will eat my own foot, haha.”

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