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Cailee Spaeny
Cailee Spaeny
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Culture > Entertainment

What To Know About Cailee Spaeny, Star Of Sofia Coppola’s ‘Priscilla’

If you’re like me, you probably have already made A24’s Priscilla your entire personality. Maybe it’s because of the trailers A24’s been giving us or the movie’s cast, but I’m already obsessed. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, Priscilla follows the real-life story of Priscilla Presley (played by Cailee Spaeny) and her relationship with rising singer Elvis Presley (played by Jacob Elordi) in the 60’s. Priscilla is releasing nationwide on Nov. 3, and I’ve already started to mentally prepare myself. 

With Priscilla’s release almost here, you may have been seeing a lot of the film’s stars Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi. Since A24 has agreed to all of SAG-AFTRA’s terms, the cast is under an interim agreement to promote the film, which is why you may have seen the two talk to press at film festivals. Elordi even stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote Priscilla on Oct. 23. In the midst of this promotion tour, Spaeny has been getting critical acclaim and attention for her performance as Priscilla Presley. Like Elordi, Spaeny is not stranger to acting and has proven herself to be a rising Gen Z star in Hollywood. 

1. Spaeny was born in missouri and moved to LA at 14 years old to pursue her acting dreams.

In an Oct. 25 interview with InStyle Magazine, Spaeny revealed that she wasn’t the most studious student in school. While reflecting on her years in Springfield, MO, Spaeny talked about how  she was a “teacher’s pet” growing up. When she was just 14 years old, her love for acting  began after being discovered singing in a kid’s cover band. She soon made the switch from academia to acting and even convinced her parents to move to Los Angeles by making a mock-up presentation. Spoiler alert: it worked out in her favor.

2. Spaeny’s first major role was in ‘Pacific Rim Uprising.’

In 2016, Spaeny made her acting debut in the short film Counting to 1000. Two years later, she starred in her first major film Pacific Rim Uprising, alongside John Boyega and Scott Eastwood. In the film, Spaeny portrayed Amara Namani, an orphan who joins a new generation of Jaeger pilots in battle. In 2018, Spaeny also starred in the films Bad Times at the El Royale, Vice, and On The Basis of Sex, slowly working her way up in the indie movie industry. 

3. Spaeny was on Variety’s Actors To Watch list in 2018.

In 2018, Spaeny was awarded a spot on Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch list at just 20 years old. Spaeny received the nod for her performance in On The Basis of Sex and honored along with esteemed actors such as Elsie Fisher, Henry Golding and Gemma Chan. 

4. ‘The Craft: Legacy’ was Spaeny’s first lead role. 

In 2020, Spaeny played the lead role of Lily Schechner in The Craft: Legacy, a reboot of the 1996 film The Craft. Spaeny portrayed a new girl at school who slowly begins to find herself delving into the world of witches. Thanks to this role, Spaeny starting receiving more attention for her acting and continued to open the doorway for Spaeny’s career in Hollywood..

5. Kirsten Dunst helped Spaeny get her leading role in Priscilla.   

One of Sofia Coppola’s muses, Kirsten Dunst (star of Bring It On), played a large part in helping Spaeny land the lead role in Priscilla. While Coppola was casting for the movie, Dunst “put a good word” for Spaeny. Coppola expressed her interest in Spaeny after Dunst recommended her, saying “Kirsten is like a sister to me, and when she recommended Cailee, I paid attention.”

6. Sofia Coppola was on Spaeny’s dream directors list.

In Spaeny’s 2023 interview with Instyle, the Priscilla star spoke candidly about her love for director Sofia Coppola. Spaeny watched Coppola’s directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides and found herself “immediately transfixed” by Coppola’s work. “It wasn’t until I watched Sofia’s films that I was like, oh, someone has acknowledged that you can be a young, cute girl but also have darkness and angst in you, and this longing for another life or love or whatever it is.” After watching The Virgin Suicides, Coppola took the top spot on Spaeny’s dream directors to work with.

7. Spaeny won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2023 Venice Film Festival.

Priscilla premiered at Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4 to critical acclaim for Coppola, Spaeny and Elordi. Critics expressed their love for the film, noting that Priscilla may be Coppola’s best film thus far in her career. Spaeny’s performance was raved by critics with many saying her portrayal  of Priscilla Presley is a “star-turning performance”.

At the 2023 Venice Film Festival, Spaeny won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her performance as Presley, the highest honor an actress can receive at the Venice Film Festival. 

I don’t know about you guys, but after seeing Spaeny win the Volpi Cup, I can’t wait to see Priscilla in theaters on Nov. 3.

Leia Mendoza

TX State '24

Leia Mendoza is a national entertainment & culture correspondent and writer at Her Campus, where she writes and talks about the latest entertainment news and pop culture updates. As well as updating timely news, she covers a broad aspect of film, television and music for Her Campus Media. She is also a contributor to Offscreen Central, where she covers award shows and future Oscar contenders. In 2024, she created Director Brat, a website centered around film and television reviews and exclusive industry interviews for the next generation of creatives. In addition, she is a Film Production and Fashion Merchandising student at Texas State University. In the past, she has covered events conducted by Texas State University, Austin Film Festival's On Story, & SXSW. She has conducted interviews for Paramount, MGM, and A24. You can find her in her spare time talking about bridging the worlds of film and fashion together, cinema preservation, indie darlings, and fabulous shopping sequences.