Jacob Elordi doesn’t want people all shook up over his and Austin Butler’s Elvis Presley impersonations.
“I don’t know why people make art a blood sport,” Elordi, 26, said during a Friday, November 3, interview with E! News. “They turn into the Colosseum. It’s f–king absurd.” The actor added that his and Butler’s films, in which they both portray Presley, would make a “killer double feature.”
While Butler, 32, took on the role of Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic — which earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture — Elordi is playing the King of Rock and Roll in Sofia Coppola’s 2023 film Priscilla. The movie is inspired by Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me, which details the love story of Priscilla and Elvis. The twosome were married from 1967 to 1973 and shared daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
While Priscilla, 85, has been open about her support for the film — telling audiences at the Venice International Film Festival in September that Coppola did an “amazing” job — the depiction of her and Elvis’ romance, which began when she was 14 and he was 24, has sparked controversy.
Although Lisa Marie openly praised Luhrmann’s Elvis, she took issue with Coppola’s script. Before her death, Lisa Marie sent the director — who also cowrote the movie — a series of emails asking her not to move forward with the project. (Lisa Marie died in January at the age of 54 from the effects of a small bowel obstruction.)
“My father only comes across as a predator and manipulative,” Lisa Marie wrote in the September 2022 messages, which were obtained by Variety. “As his daughter, I don’t read this and see any of my father in this character. I don’t read this and see my mother’s perspective of my father. I read this and see your shockingly vengeful and contemptuous perspective and I don’t understand why?”
Lisa Marie also warned that she would speak out against the movie and her mother. “I will be forced to be in a position where I will have to openly say how I feel about the film and go against you, my mother, and this film publicly,” she said.
In response, Coppola said she hoped Lisa Marie would change her mind after she got to see a final cut of the movie. “I hope that when you see the final film, you will feel differently, and understand I’m taking great care in honoring your mother, while also presenting your father with sensitivity and complexity,” Coppola replied, per Variety.
Elordi, meanwhile, told E! News on Friday that it was his job to “respect Priscilla’s book” after it was mentioned that he was “playing sort of a side of Elvis that people may not want to see.”
“It’s all there on paper and, you know, I’ve had conversations with [Priscilla],” he said. “So, for me, it was portraying this person the way that she had described him in the moments that she had described.”
Elordi is no stranger to complicated characters. He played “bad boy” Noah Flynn in The Kissing Booth trilogy alongside Joey King and Joel Courtney and is also the face of the haunted — and at times abusive — Nate Jacobs on HBO’s Euphoria.
When asked why he was “so good at playing troubled men,” Elordi replied, “I don’t know if it’s necessarily always troubled men. It’s just I enjoy playing complex people.”