Sofia Coppola’s new movie Priscilla promises to tell the inside story of what it was really like for Priscilla Beaulieu Presley to be married to Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n’ Roll. But even though Priscilla herself served as an executive producer on Priscilla, the movie leaves out some extremely key details from Beaulieu Presley and co-author Sandra Harmon’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, which the movie is based on.
Here’s everything that didn’t make it to the big screen.
Elvis’s Friend Assaulted Priscilla in Germany
One prominent detail that was left out of the movie is a scene in the book in which Priscilla describes being assaulted by one of Elvis’ friends in the car on the drive from Elvis’ house in Bad Nauheim to her parent’s house in Wiesbaden, Germany. She does not reveal the man’s identity.
In the movie, Elvis is shown picking Priscilla up from her parent’s house to go on dates, but in the book, Priscilla explains that Elvis usually had his father Vernon or one of his friends pick her up. She says the assault took place when she was 14, during the first few months of her courtship with Elvis, who was 24 at the time.
Priscilla herself describes the incident in an excerpt from the Elvis and Me:
“One particular evening when neither Lamar nor Vernon was able to drive me home, Elvis had a ‘friend’ who we’ll call Kurt (not his real name) take me.
Kurt was driving me from Elvis’s home back to Wiesbaden. I was tired and dozing off. All of a sudden, I felt the road get bumpy. I opened my eyes.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.
‘You’ll find out,’ he said, turning his head away.
We had driven off the highway onto a dirt road. I could see the lights of one distant house, and the rest was all blackness. I began to get frightened. ‘What’s going on?’ I inquired, confused. By then Kurt had stopped the car and shut off the ignition.
I repeated my question, but Kurt didn’t answer. Instead, he turned and grabbed me, trying to kiss me. I pushed him away, struggling. He threw me down on the seat.
Panicked, I begged, ‘Don’t! Leave me alone!’ I started fighting. I kicked one door open and opened the driver’s door with my hand while simultaneously banging the horn, hitting ht lights, and scratching at his face. Out of frustration and fear of being caught, he finally gave up.
The rest of the way home, he never said a word. I just sat there sobbing, disbelieving, praying that I would get home safely.”
Later, she describes Elvis’ fury when she told him what happened, and notes that Elvis excommunicated Kurt from his circle of friends.
“When I finally did tell him, Elvis went berserk. ‘I’m going to kill him,’ he shouted. He paced the floor, cursing Kurt. I was his little girl, Elvis said, and he had never gone all the way with me. Now this other guy, this so-called friend of his, had tried to rape me. I listened as he shouted, secretly relieved at his response.”
Priscilla First Visited Elvis in Los Angeles, Not Graceland
In the movie, the time between Elvis leaving Germany and Priscilla’s first visit to Graceland seems quicker than it really was. The two first met in 1959, and Elvis left to go back to the U.S. in March of 1960. By 1962, Priscilla was still in Germany, and it had been almost two years since she’d last seen Elvis in person.
Although the movie shows Priscilla first reuniting with Elvis at his Graceland home in Memphis and then going on a trip to Las Vegas from there, she actually met him first in the summer of 1962 in Los Angeles, where he was filming a movie.
“It was a cold, snowy day in March 1962, nearly two years since Elvis had left Germany. In the late afternoon, I received a call from him. It had been months since we last spoke,” she writes in Elvis and Me. “‘I’d like to make arrangements for you to visit me in Los Angeles,’ he said. ‘Do you think we can work it out?’”
Once she was in Los Angeles, Elvis took her on their first trip to Las Vegas, against her parent’s strict wishes that she stick to the itinerary they had agreed upon. To avoid suspicion, Priscilla slyly pre-wrote and stamped postcards home to make it look like she was still in Los Angeles.
She wouldn’t see Graceland for the first time until Christmas of 1962.
Priscilla Contemplates Suicide
Another particularly emotional moment in Elvis and Me that was left out of the movie took place while Elvis was reading the bible to a group of adoring women at he and Priscilla’s home in Bel Air. Noticing Elvis flirting with the women and feeling ignored, Priscilla gets up and goes into their bedroom, hoping Elvis will notice her absence. In the movie, the scene ends with Priscilla peaking out dejectedly from behind a door as Elvis chats with the women. But in the book, Priscilla describes contemplating suicide that day.
“I asked questions like they did, but my heart wasn’t in it; I knew they all wanted to take my place. ‘That’s it,’ I thought. ‘If I’m not appreciated, loved, or wanted, I’ll end it. That will make it easier for everyone,'” she writes in the book.
“I got up and went back to our room. Picking up a half-full bottle of Placidyls, I devised a plan to create a dramatic effect that, in my mind, would win his attention. I stared at them, thinking, What if I choke to death? I decided to take two pills to start. That way I could take a quick shower, redo my makeup, put on my prettiest camisole, and still have time to position myself dramatically on the bed before I consumed the rest of the bottle.
I swallowed the pills and started to prepare myself for the end. In tears, I thought of leaving him a note, writing down everything I’d never been able to say. I’d tell him how I wished that it could have been just the two of us again, as it had been during the long hours we’d spent together in his room in Germany,” she writes.
“In my naive fantasy he’d take my listless body in his arms and tell me how much he loved me, kissing me passionately back to life. I forced down one more pill, lay perfectly still in the position I wanted to be discovered, and waited for what seemed like hours for sleep to overtake me. But the longer I lay there, the less sleepy I became. The more I heard Elvis’ laughter, the angrier I got. My adrenaline-charged fury was overriding the effect of the pills. Soon I began to feel foolish.
Then I heard Elvis say good night to everyone as he approached the room. I grabbed the nearest book and lay it at my side, as though I’d been reading and had fallen asleep. I heard him come in, quietly walk over to the bed, and pick up the book. He whispered the title, The Listener. I could imagine him smiling, pleased as always when I read philosophical books. He stood over me for a second, probably thinking how sweet I looked and how tired I must have been to retire so early.
Then he covered me snugly with blankets and bent down to kiss my carefully-parted lips. All my anger and jealousy vanished. I realized how even a little of his attention could make me happy.”
Affair With Karate Teacher Mike Stone
The movie subtly alludes to Priscilla’s affair with her karate teacher, Mike Stone, in a scene where she’s laughing and gazing at him fondly while they’re seated next to each other. But it doesn’t fully confirm their affair like Priscilla does in her book.
“I was confronted with the harsh realization that living the way I had for so long was very unnatural and detrimental to my well-being. My relationship with Mike had now developed into an affair,” she writes.
“I still loved Elvis greatly, but over the next few months I knew I would have to make a crucial decision regarding my destiny. I knew that I must take control of my life. I could not give up these new insights. There was a whole world out there and I had to find my own place in it.”
What Really Happened in That Vegas Hotel Scene
Towards the end of the movie, Priscilla is having dinner in the hotel in between Elvis’ Las Vegas shows when she gets a message that he wants to see her upstairs in the suite. Elvis pins her down and tries to force her into intercourse with him, saying, “This is how a real man makes love to his woman.” But Priscilla fights him off before it gets any further.
However, in Elvis and Me, Priscilla does not fight him off. She writes:
“The maître d’ came up to the table with a message that Elvis wanted to see me upstairs in the suite. I remember thinking how unusual this was. Elvis rarely went to the suite between shows.
I went upstairs, filled with curiosity, and when I arrived in the suite I found Elvis lying in bed, obviously waiting for me. He grabbed me and forcefully made love to me. It was uncomfortable and unlike any other time he’d ever made love to me before, and he explained, “This is how a real man makes love to his woman.” This was not the gentle, understanding man that I grew to love. He was under the influence, and with my personal growth and new realities he had become a stranger to me.
I wept in silence as Elvis got up to dress for the show.”
Priscilla arrives in theaters on Nov. 3
Main Image: Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny as Elvis and Priscilla in Priscilla. Credit: A24