Olivia DeJonge Had to Shave Her Eyebrows Before Playing Priscilla Presley in Elvis
After playing Priscilla Presley in the new Elvis biopic, Olivia DeJonge is all anyone can talk about. The Melbourne-born, Perth-raised 24-year-old is best known for appearing on BINGE’s The Staircase, as Caitlin Atwater.
Now, she can add Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis to her growing CV. Taking on the role of Priscilla is no easy feat, but Olivia truly dedicated herself to her craft. Admitting to diving down a rabbit hole of research prior to stepping in Priscilla’s shoes, DeJonge said the pressure she felt before, during and after filming was intense.
“I was so scared that [Priscilla] was going to watch it and be like, ‘what the hell, what did she do!? Why did she choose to do that?’,” DeJonge told POPSUGAR Australia. “There’s heaps of pressure, and I put a lot of pressure on myself as well.”
However, her hard work ended up paying off, with Priscilla herself taking to Instagram to praise DeJonge and the rest of the cast and crew for their hard work on the film about her late husband.
“I’ve seen Elvis the film, I watched the trailer over a dozen times. 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,” wrote the 76-year-old. “I relived every moment in this film. It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia.”
Biopics can be tricky, especially when you know the person you’re playing is going to watch the film. There have been instances where the subject has hated the way they’ve been portrayed, but thankfully, this wasn’t one of those moments.
“It was a huge relief,” said DeJonge about Priscilla’s comments. “I felt like I could breathe again after three years. Huge, huge sigh of relief for everybody.”
In a matter of weeks, the star has gone on to be on the cover of Vogue Australia, walk the Cannes red carpet, be invited to the Met Gala and, of course, go on a worldwide promotional tour for the new film. Her life has done a complete 180, but Olivia still feels the way she did before everyone knew her name.
“To be honest, I still feel the same. Maybe I’m not paying attention or something, but life feels the same to me. Other than the fact that I get to talk about these projects that I’m super passionate about and get to celebrate it with people that I made it with.”
As we chatted about her career and the film on a freezing cold Sydney day, I couldn’t help but ask her about Priscilla’s style during the ‘60s and ‘70s. As a fashion enthusiast, my heart sang a song when I saw the stunning outfits in the movie, all thanks to the hard work of Academy Award-winning costume designer Catherine Martin. That, combined with the brilliant hair and makeup truly brought Priscilla to life.
“I’ve been telling everyone the ‘70s bedazzled beaded number is my favourite outfit from the film, but, the coat that I wore at the end is a close second. They whipped it up in a couple of days and it’s an exact match of the coat she wore to the divorce proceedings with Elvis, and it felt incredible,” said DeJonge. “That with the Farrah Fawcett hair and the extra eyebrows — they had to shave my eyebrows for this job, because I have bushy brows — so they were so, so thin. But those two were my favourite.”
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is out in HOYTS Cinemas nationwide on June 23.