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Riley Keough describes the “emotional experience” of watching 'Elvis'


The brand new Elvis biopic, based on the life and times of ‘The King’ Elvis Presley, has stirred up an emotional response for Riley Keough, the actor of Mad Max: Fury Road and Zola, as well as the unlikely granddaughter of the musical superstar.

“It’s very intense to watch when it’s your family,” Keough revealed in an interview with Variety, speaking fondly of the biopic, directed by Baz Luhrmann, currently showing at the Cannes Film Festival. Continuing she added, “It was a real honour to know Baz was doing this movie. Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, for the age I was at the time, were really powerful. It wasn’t like I distrusted Baz in any way, but you’re protective over your family”. 

Starring Austin Butler as the titular superstar, alongside Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge and Natasha Bassett, the biopic explores the life and career of one of the most influential American performers of all time. Analysed through the viewpoint of the complicated relationship between him and his manager, the story spans over 20 years and details his rapid rise to fame amid the backdrop of an increasingly evolving American culture. 

Watching the movie with her grandmother Priscilla Presley, and mother, Lisa Marie Presley, Keough described her emotional response to the film. “In the first five minutes, I could feel how much work Baz and Austin (Butler, who plays Presley) put into trying to get it right. That made me emotional immediately,” the actor revealed, adding: “I started crying five minutes in and didn’t stop”.

Although Riley Keough herself would be an obvious choice to appear in the film, she stated that it was never a conversation, explaining, “It’s intense enough to watch, I don’t want to act in it. It was never a conversation. I think there was a boundary there that felt respected in a nice way”. 

Elvis is released in cinemas across the UK and US on June 24th.