Among the big-name Hollywood titles screening at the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is Sofia Copolla’s Venice-bowing Priscilla, starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, that tells the story of Priscilla Presley and her tumultuous relationship with Elvis.
Of all the high-profile attendees at the festival who many might expect to have watched the film is Red Sea jury head Baz Luhrmann, who only recently delved into similar territories with his blockbuster biographical feature Elvis, in which Austin Butler played The King.
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But speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of taking on jury duties at the festival, Luhrmann admitted that, despite Coppola being a “really good friend,” he still hadn’t had a chance to watch it. “I haven’t seen the film, I’ve just been so busy,” he explained. “But I’m dying to see it.”
Both Elvis and Priscilla may have come out practically within a year of each other, but Luhrmann says that having two major features back-to-back simply validates Presley’s iconic status.
“Elvis’ life was so big in such a short time and is such an important part of the fabric of contemporary culture,” he said. “But he has been somewhat removed from it. He’s sort of been turned into wallpaper and a joke. But all it does is say, if you want to look at the modern American epoch from the ’50s on, you can’t not look at the canvas of Elvis Presley’s life.”
Luhrmann added: “I’m sure there’ll be many more films about Elvis and Priscilla told with other characters and told from very different points of view. Because it just proves the validity of the story in terms of culture in America.”
Although Luhrmann may be in Jeddah for the Red Sea Film Festival, he is unsure whether he’ll actually be able to take the opportunity to finally watch Priscilla, which screens out of competition.
“Unfortunately, people think festivals are glamorous, but I’ll be watching three films a day in a dark room,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to be doing. But I will see Priscilla at some point, believe you me!”
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