The Australia native, 24, appears as the late singer’s wife, to whom he was married from 1967 to 1973. DeJonge has plenty of film and TV roles under her belt, but she was still nervous at the prospect of playing a real person who was very famous — and is still living.
“Honestly, I remember feeling very intimidated when I got the role, but if you strip it down, she was 21 or 22,” the Better Watch Out actress told British Vogue in an interview published on Wednesday, June 22. “I’ve been in love before, so I can understand what that’s like. It was really just about playing somebody supportive and full of life.”
Elvis died in August 1977 at age 42, but Priscilla, now 77, has expressed her admiration for both Butler and DeJonge’s performances in the film. “It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered,” the Dallas alum tweeted in April. “Austin Butler, who played Elvis is outstanding. Halfway through the film, Jerry [Schilling] and I looked at each other and said ‘WOW!!! Bravo to him.’ He knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine.”
In an Instagram post one month later, she revealed that her and Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, “loved” the film when she saw it. “I relived every moment in this film,” Priscilla wrote. “It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa. Beautifully done Baz [Luhrmann], Tom [Hanks], Austin and Olivia.”
DeJonge, for her part, was thrilled to work with Luhrmann, 59, a fellow Australian and director of one of her favorite movies: the 1996 adaptation of Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. “One of the best ever made,” the Visit actress told The AU Review on Wednesday. “I actually studied that film in 9th grade. A funny little full circle. But yeah, I wrote an essay on it. I should find that essay and show it to him. He can grade it out of 10.”
The Staircase star also relished the opportunity to work with Romeo + Juliet‘s costume designer, Catherine Martin, who is married to Luhrmann and frequently collaborates with him on his films. “Catherine Martin, Baz’s wife and partner, is incredible,” DeJonge gushed to British Vogue of the Oscar winner, 57. “I mean, stepping into these costumes, that wig and make-up every day, it really made the rest of the job quite easy, because it was so incredibly immersive.”
Keep scrolling for five things to know about DeJonge.