Elvis Presley’s Granddaughter Riley Keough Says She Didn’t Want To Star in Upcoming Biopic

by Emily Morgan

For acclaimed actress Riley Keough, the new biopic based on Elvis Presley’s life is personal. The new film starring Austin Butler follows The King’s controversial rise to fame as he becomes the pop culture phenomenon he’s known as today. 

If you didn’t know, Keough is an actor and the granddaughter of Elvis Presley. If you’re wondering if Keough makes an appearance in the upcoming flick about her family, sadly, you’re not in luck. Recently, the Zola star spoke about her decision not to have a role in the film.  

During this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where her directorial debut, War Pony, was being screened, the young actor revealed that she had no interest in starring in Baz Luhrmann’s retelling of her famous grandpa. 

 “It’s a little too close,” Keough admitted. “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.” 

The film stars Butler as the hip-gyrating superstar, Olivia DeJonge as his wife, and Keough’s grandma, Priscilla. Tom Hanks also has a role as Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Yola Quartey, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. are also in the cast. 

Riley Keough weighs in on not acting in Elvis Presley biopic: ‘It’s a little too close’

When she learned that Luhrmann decided to make the movie, Keough was honored. Additionally, Keough revealed that his award-winning film, Moulin Rouge inspired her to make movies. However, it was far from easy when Keoguh watched Elvis for the first time. According to her, the whole experience was “very intense.” 

“It wasn’t like I distrusted Baz in any way. But you’re protective over your family,” she said of seeing her family’s personal details play out on screen. Although Luhrmann had consulted with Presley’s family members before shooting, Keough said the Australian director ultimately had all the creative control.

 “I started crying five minutes in and didn’t stop,” Keough said of her first time watching. “There’s a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that started around then for our family. I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence.”

Earlier this month, Elvis’ former love, Priscilla Presley, also gave the film her stamp of approval in an Instagram post. In addition, she mentioned that Keough’s mother and Elvis’ only child, Lisa Marie, was also pleased with how the director shot the movie. 

“I’ve seen Elvis the film. I watched the trailer over a dozen times,” Priscilla began the caption of her post, alongside a trailer for the movie. “But the words I heard from my daughter on how much she loved the film and that Riley will love it too when she sees it brought tears.”

Noting that she “relived every moment in this film,” Priscilla continued, “it took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa.”