Riley Keough on directing, nepotism and crying during ‘Elvis’ – WWD

Riley Keough on directing, nepotism and crying during ‘Elvis’ – WWD

CANES Despite having different surnames, being Elvis Presley’s granddaughter often precedes Riley Keough. But the 32-year-old has carved out her own name as an actress through ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ and as a lifelong actress. Dior ambassador.

Now she’s stepped behind the camera for the first time for “War Pony,” which premieres in Cannes on Saturday.

Speaking during the To dry On the Women in Motion series, Keough said that when she entered the world of acting, she had to overcome perceptions of nepotism, felt pressured by expectations, and apologized for her ancestry. Keough later came to appreciate the perks, such as getting an agent quickly. “It helps you in many ways, it helps you have more resources,” she said.

The realization helped her put those expectations behind her. “I think it’s inherently separate, because it’s not music either,” she said of walking in her grandfather’s legendary shoes. “So I think there’s a level of separation, there’s also a generation of separation.”

All nepotism didn’t help fund “War Pony,” co-directed with Gina Gammell, Keough said. The first-time director noted that it’s an industry-wide problem for money men to take chances on female directors. This results in slim selections for festival producers, like this year’s walking sticks selection, which has only three female directors in the main competition and has been widely criticized for failing to meet its gender parity target.

Keough said she sees her male friends getting funding much easier. “What does that mean for someone who’s not an actress and doesn’t have the connections that I have? I see it all the time with female directors, even the ones I’ve worked with.

Among those luminaries is Andrea Arnold, who directed “American Honey.” It was on the set of that 2016 movie where the seeds for “War Pony” were sewn. There Keough met Bill Reddy and Franklin Sioux Bob as extras and became fast friends. They then co-wrote, with Gammell and Keough, the story of two boys growing up on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

Bringing the film into the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the film festival was a life-changing moment for Keough. “It was the first time I thought I was going to pass out,” she said. “I had to lie down and breathe.”

Keough, who will walk the red carpet in Dior for the premiere of “War Horse” on Saturday, is also set to make an appearance at the premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” on May 25. She has already seen the film, with her family.

“It’s a very moving experience to watch,” she said. “When it’s your family, you know, it’s an interesting position where there’s kind of a free rein in who gets to tell your story. Like, we don’t really have control over [it].”

She said Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” was the first movie she ever saw in theaters, and she has a lot of respect for it. This feeling was mutual and he overcame all of the family’s apprehensions through a series of meetings that made them feel heard.

“You are protecting your family history,” she said. “The first five minutes for me, I could just feel how hard Baz and Austin were working [Butler] had been trying to get it right. And that immediately moved me. So I just started crying five minutes later, and I don’t think I stopped. I felt so honored that they worked so hard to really get its essence and I really feel like Austin captured it so well.

“There is a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that kind of started there for our family. So it was a very intense experience,” she said. Luhrmann didn’t try to throw it, she revealed, adding that it would have been “a bit too close” anyway.

The legacy of being Elvis’ granddaughter doesn’t directly shape her artistic choices, she said. “Maybe somewhere in my DNA. But not the memory. I think my whole story shapes the artist. I’m my whole family, my every moment, you know? I’m sure that’s a big part of who I am.

#Riley #Keough #directing #nepotism #crying #Elvis #WWD

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