As Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ biopic looms, the Presley family is in love with it

A yound man sings into a microphone as the crowd reaches out to touch him.
Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming movie “Elvis.”
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Riley Keough, the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, can’t help falling in love with Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” And she’s not alone.

Ahead of the highly anticipated biopic’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival later this week, most of the Presley family has said only good things about the movie so far.

For the record:

4:19 p.m. May 25, 2022A previous version of this story said Priscilla Presley was Elvis Presley’s widow when he died in 1977. They divorced in 1973.

From the opening scene to the end of the film, Keough said, she couldn’t stop crying and that it was “a very emotional experience.”


“In the first five minutes, I could feel how much work Baz and Austin [Butler] put into trying to get it right,” Keough recently told Variety. “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.”

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She continued, “I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence. Austin captured that so beautifully.”

Keough spoke at Cannes as a first-time director for her film “War Pony,” which she debuted at the festival.

“It’s very intense to watch when it’s your family,” Keough said of Luhrmann’s film, which stars Butler as Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “It wasn’t like I distrusted Baz in any way, but you’re protective over your family.”

Priscilla Presley, who was Elvis’ ex-wife by the time he died in 1977, took to her Instagram to say she’s watched the film “over a dozen times.”

“I relived every moment in this film. It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia,” she wrote on May 6.


Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, also shared her sentiments in an Instagram post. She acknowledged that she hasn’t been on social media much after her son Benjamin died at 27 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2020.

“Navigating through this hideous grief that absolutely destroyed and shattered my heart and soul into almost nothing has swallowed me whole,” she wrote on May 14.

“Not much else aside from my other 3 children gets my time and attention anymore,” she added, but she wanted to talk about how “absolutely exquisite” the biopic is, noting that she’s watched it twice.

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“You can feel and witness Baz’s pure love, care and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever,” Lisa Marie added.

“I can’t tell you enough how much I love this film and I hope you love it too. … Thank you [Baz] for setting the record straight in such a deeply profound and artistic way.”

“Elvis” will be in theaters June 24.