LIDO, Venice, Italy – Elvis may be long gone but his spirt was certainly invoked at the Venice Film Festival press conference before Monday night’s world premiere of Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla.”
That’s because as Coppola, 52, spoke about her film adaptation of Priscilla Presley’s memoir about her life, marriage and divorce from Elvis Presley, she was asked what did Priscilla Presley think of her movie. And since the real Priscilla Presley, 78, was sitting in the front row, she was given a mic and jolted the room with an emotional, tear-filled answer.
Asked, “Priscilla, what moved you the most seeing the film?” she answered, “The ending. It’s very difficult to sit and watch a film about your life and your love and” – she choked up, stopped, as the room erupted into applause – “Sofia did an amazing job. She did her homework. We spoke a couple of times and I put everything out for her that I could.
“It was very difficult for my parents to understand why Elvis was so important to me” – she was 14, in 9th grade, an Army colonel’s daughter, when she met the superstar in Germany where he was stationed for his military service.
“With Elvis I was a listener. He would talk about his fears and his hopes and the loss of his mother, which he never got over. I was the person who sat there and listened. Even though I was 14, I was a little older in life than numbers.
“I never had sex with him,” she said. “He was very kind, very soft and loving. He respected the fact I was 14 years old. We were more in mind and that was our relationship.
“He valued me when he came back to the United States and talked about how mad he was with the (film) director. I never knew why he had this trust in me. He loved that I never gave him up in any way or told anyone at school I was seeing him. Our relationship went on until I left,” when she was 29.
She concluded, saying, “It wasn’t that I didn’t love him. It was the lifestyle. And we remained very close. We had our daughter” Lisa Marie who died Jan. 12 at 54 – “and it’s like we never left each other.”
“Priscilla” opens theatrically Oct. 27.
Woody Allen 50th
Woody Allen, here to world premiere his latest, won applause and cheers with the witty, clever and homicidal “Coup de Chance,” his first-ever French-language thriller. It marks the 87-year-old writer-director’s 50th film. Originally it was with two Americans in Paris – but when French financing happened, it became Parisians in Paris. “The only changes I had to make were cosmetic,” he said.