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Riley Keough Says She Didn’t Want to Star in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Kering

Forget The Girlfriend Experience, Riley Keough also has firsthand knowledge of the granddaughter experience. And as a direct relative of Elvis Presley, she naturally had to field some questions about Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. According to IndieWire, Keough said she had no interest in starring in the musical retelling about her famous grandpa. “It’s a little too close,” Keough explained. “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 stars Austin Butler as the titular rocker and Olivia DeJonge as his wife, Priscilla. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks risked COVID for his role as Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s talent manager. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Yola Quartey, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. round out the rest of the cast.

Keough said she was honored that Luhrmann was doing Elvis — especially since his Moulin Rouge inspired her to make movies — but found the viewing experience “very intense.” “It wasn’t like I distrusted Baz in any way, but you’re protective over your family,” she said. While Luhrmann consulted with Presley family members before shooting, Keough said the director ultimately had creative control over the film. “I started crying five minutes in and didn’t stop,” Keough said of her first time watching the final product. “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.”

Riley Keough Didn’t Want to Star in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis