Jacob Elordi’s Elvis Voice Stunned Priscilla Presley

When adapting Priscilla Presley’s memoir, Elvis and Me, into her latest film,  Priscilla, filmmaker Sofia Coppola longed to explore who the Presleys were “behind closed doors,” studying their home movies to capture “the essence of them and how they were together.”

Coppola reunited with stars Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi for Vanity Fair’s Notes on a Scene, where they dissect a pivotal private moment between Priscilla and Elvis. In the scene, Elvis listens to subpar demo records in his home office before asking Priscilla her opinion. When she expresses doubts about the songs, Elvis hurls a chair in Priscilla’s direction, which hits the wall mere inches from her face. 

Although Priscilla writes of this incident in her book, Coppola says she was insistent that Elvis “didn’t ever throw a chair at me. It was at the wall next to me.” The musician didn’t actually try to hurt his wife, Coppola emphasizes—“but he lost his temper.” Seeing the character lose his cool was key in exploring Elvis and Priscilla’s sometimes fraught relationship. “A lot of the movie you’re in his more gentle, more vulnerable side,” Coppola explains. “We want it to feel like you’re always in Priscilla’s point of view, and it to be shocking when someone’s mood shifts like that.”

Speany says she got valuable insight into Priscilla’s headspace by speaking to the woman herself prior to production. “I had lots of different conversations with her before I started filming, how she was toeing that line between being supportive, but also speaking her mind,” the actor says. “And I think this scene is her sort of taking those first steps of having an opinion and voicing it.”

To inhabit the so-called King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elordi, who didn’t know much about Elvis until he watched Disney’s Lilo & Stitch as a kid, devoted a lot of time to emulating Presley’s famous voice. “I’m pretty lucky to kind of be in his register anyway,” says Elordi. “But I think, for me, it was trying to invent what he would sound like behind closed doors, because everyone has a performing voice and a speaking voice.”

And while Austin Butler seemingly kept using his Elvis accent long after filming wrapped on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Elordi was able to impress the real Priscilla without going quite as far. “When we watched the film with Priscilla the first time, what struck her the most was how much his voice sounded like Elvis, so that was a big thrill,” Coppola says. Adds Elordi, “It was a great relief.” Watch the full video above.

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