Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” is the second major biopic that the auteur has tackled. While her 2006 period piece “Marie Antoinette” was a flop at the box office, it has been reappraised over time and is now viewed by many as one of her best works. So it’s not surprising that when it as time to find an actress to play Priscilla Presley, she turned to “Marie Antoinette” star Kirsten Dunst for advice.

Coppola previously revealed that she decided to cast Cailee Spaeny in the role after Dunst, who worked with Spaeny on Alex Garland’s upcoming “Civil War,” suggested it. “Kirsten is like a sister to me, and when she recommended Cailee, I paid attention,” Coppola said.

Speaking to IndieWire on the red carpet of the film‘s North American premiere at the New York Film Festival, Cailee shared more details about her relationship with Dunst. She confirmed that the “Marie Antoinette” star helped convince Coppola to cast her in “Priscilla,” and said that they bonded over starring in Coppola biopics at similar ages.

“Kirsten’s amazing,” Spaeny said. “She definitely put in a good word for me, which I don’t think hurt during the casting process. She also filmed ‘Marie Antoinette’ when she was 23 and I did ‘Priscilla’ when I was 24. So it was sort of two words colliding, very full circle. It was a really incredible way to get this role.”

Many critics have drawn parallels between “Priscilla” and “Marie Antoinette,” while also noting the key areas where the films differ from each other.

“Comparisons to the more opulent and electrifying ‘Marie Antoinette’ are inevitable, as both movies are about teenage girls who are trying to appease their kings,” IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote in his Venice review of the film. “But from a certain perspective, ‘Priscilla’ is also the polar opposite of Coppola’s 2006 masterpiece. While Marie Antoinette was forced to Versailles against her will, Priscilla Presley’s ultimate dream was — like many girls her age in 1963 — to live in Graceland as Elvis’ wife. And while Marie Antoinette spent the brunt of her short life struggling to reconcile a sense of personal identity with the one conferred upon her by the royal palace, Priscilla Presley, who’s still alive today (and an executive producer on this film), spent the brunt of her short marriage realizing that she didn’t have to.”

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