Priscilla Presley speaks out on Elvis’ death anniversary about ‘toughest’ moments in Baz Luhrmann biopic that ‘brought back’ memories

Priscilla Presley spoke out on the 45th anniversary of Elvis' death as she explained what watching the movie was like after 'living' it...

Priscilla Presley spoke out on the anniversary of Elvis' death, seen here attending the photocall for "Elvis" during the 75th annual Cannes film festival
(Image credit: Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Priscilla Presley spoke out on Elvis’ death anniversary and revealed the “toughest” moments in Baz Luhrmann’s movie that “brought back” memories.

For anyone who hasn’t discovered how to watch Elvis, then you’ve been missing out on some seriously spellbinding performances. Stepping into the shoes of a true music icon was Austin Butler who played Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, with Olivia DeJonge his wife Priscilla Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager Colonel Tom Parker. And the Elvis movie didn’t just attract an all-star cast, but the approval of the Presley family. Priscilla Presley previously called Austin’s portrayal of Elvis “incredible” after watching the 2022 movie. 

Throughout Priscilla Presley’s relationship timeline with Elvis the couple experienced some major highs and lows, particularly with the singer’s complex relationship with his manager. Now Elvis’ former wife has spoken out on the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ death on August 16th to reveal the “toughest” moments for her in the film. 

Speaking on Today, Priscilla Presley revealed that despite initially being “a little concerned” about the direction Baz Luhrmann would take with the Elvis biopic, it was startlingly true to life.

“Baz Luhrmann I have to say is a genius, I don’t know anyone else who could’ve done this movie like he did. Baz does his own thing. I was a little concerned at first when I heard Baz was going to do the movie, “ she admitted. “He put me a little at ease but still I didn’t know how it was gonna come out. So when I saw it - I saw it actually with Jerry Schilling, we had a private screening - and we didn’t speak, we didn’t talk at all. At the end we went, ‘Wow, this is Elvis’ Truly it is Elvis.”

Priscilla later explained, “You know it was about Colonel and Elvis and Elvis’ dream, you know, to take his career further. He wanted to do movies and serious movies and Colonel Parker just - he should’ve really, probably stayed a publicist because he didn't take others where he wanted to be and that was hard because I lived it.”

Singer Elvis Presley and his manager Colonel Tom Parker sit at a typewriter

(Image credit: Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Asked about the “toughest” moments, she went on to describe how the on-screen arguments between Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker affected her deeply while watching the Elvis movie.

“I lived the arguments that they had, I lived Elvis trying to explain that he didn’t want to do the movies with all the girls and beaches and everything,” Priscilla declared. “He really wanted to do serious things, so living that with him and then watching the movie brought back a lot of memories.”

The businesswoman revealed that she did make peace with the Colonel and opened up about the huge sense of responsibility she feels as the keeper of Elvis’ legacy.

“It’s a big responsibility, yes, but I want to carry it out and give him the things he always wanted to do and wanted in his life. He wanted to sing with an orchestra and I was able to get the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to be the symphony which he would be singing with and carry that out for him, that was his dream,” Priscilla heartfeltly shared. “So anything that he wanted to do or wished to do as far as - in life - I wanna try to get that to happen.” 

The compilation album If I Can Dream featuring Elvis Presley’s vocals and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was released in 2015. 

When did Elvis die and how? 

Elvis Presley died on August 16th 1977 at age 42 and he would be 87 if he were still alive today. He passed away at his Memphis, Tennessee home, Graceland, and was discovered by his girlfriend Ginger Alden lying on the floor of his bathroom. He was taken to the Baptist Memorial Hospital and was pronounced dead.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s cause of death has often been at the center of debates over the years, with conspiracy theories emerging after his autopsy report has been kept sealed for many decades and is reportedly set to remain so until 2027. According to the BBC (opens in new tab), Elvis Presley died of a heart attack and some consider his years of prescription drug usage could have been a contributing factor.

Elvis Presley combs his hair at the Draftee Receiving Depot

(Image credit: Bettmann via Getty)

He left behind his only child, Lisa Marie Presley, who was born to Elvis and Priscilla Presley in 1968. After Elvis died, he was buried in the Meditation Garden at Graceland where his parents Gladys and Vernon, grandmother Minnie Mae Presley and grandson Benjamin Keough.

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.