Riley Keough is Hollywood royalty as the daughter of legendary rock ‘n’ roll superstar Elvis Presley and granddaughter of his ex-wife Priscilla. She’s also in the midst of some serious family drama.
In 2016, Presley amended her will to name Riley and her son Benjamin sole executors of her estate, which includes the 17,552-square-foot Graceland mansion and a 15% stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Daisy Jones & The Six
The ’70s were a wild time for rock ‘n’ roll. The decade saw hedonistic excess reach new highs with the rise of disco, punk and glam metal. Those eras may seem distant, but the new Amazon Prime series Daisy Jones & The Six proves that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well. Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling book, the drama stars Riley Keough as Daisy Jones, the female lead of a fictional band named The Six. Her rock royalty pedigree (she’s the granddaughter of Elvis Presley and daughter of Lisa Marie) makes her an ideal choice to play Daisy.
But it’s her talent as a singer-songwriter that really elevates the series. Keough channels the angst of a young girl trying to find her place in the world as she struggles to make it as a professional musician. She’s backed up by a talented cast including Sam Claflin, Josh Whitehouse, Suki Waterhouse, and Sebastian Chacon. The show is shot in a documentary style, with talking head interviews from the present day paired up with scenes from the past. The dual-timeline format and the real-life musical talent on display makes the story feel very authentic.
Daisy Jones & The Six is set in the heyday of Laurel Canyon rock bands and the quest for stardom. The Six, formerly known as the Dunne Brothers, have spent nine months building an audience and are vying for a record deal when they meet music producer Teddy Price. He likes their sound but is unsure they’re ready for the spotlight. When Daisy shows up at a club where the band is performing, he thinks she’s just there for her performance of their hit song “Look at Us Now.”
She convinces him to let her join them as the band’s female lead, and they take off. They’re greeted with a standing ovation and soon become hugely successful. But their success also brings about a wave of egotistical behavior and in-fighting among the members.
The band members struggle with balancing their private lives and their music careers. Daisy screams at her husband when she finds out he’s sleeping with someone else; she also loses her temper when Camila confesses to having an abortion. Tensions rise and the band’s future looks uncertain as they prepare for a sold-out concert.
For months, Riley Keough has kept mum about the raging legal battle between her and her grandmother Priscilla Presley. Now, she’s making her first public statement on the matter.
CANNES — Keough has made her name as an actress in films like The Girlfriend Experience and Mad Max: Fury Road, but her Cannes award-winning directorial debut War Pony is the first film she’s also written. The project came about after a chance meeting with director Gina Gammell at a photo shoot for Dior in 2017.
The movie centers on two Oglala Lakota men on “the rez” who have their lives transformed by an unexpected encounter. Bill (Jojo Bapteise Whiting) is 23, full of swagger and hustle, determined to carve out his version of the American dream on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where state agencies seem to ignore the needs of its residents.
But life on the rez isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when you don’t have the means to take care of yourself or your family. As Bill tries to eke out a living by syphoning gas and delivering goods, his 12-year-old brother Matho (LaDainian Crazy Thunder) grows up too fast, desperate for approval from his father.
The story takes a turn when the pair meet each other at an abandoned farm in South Dakota. A powerful, uplifting tale about life, hope and belonging, War Pony earned the Camera d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival and features spellbinding performances from the cast.
For Keough, who is a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, it was important that the film reflect her heritage and show a realistic depiction of life on the reservation. She and Gammell worked closely with members of the tribe to ensure authenticity, with many of the film’s actors being locals. They also made sure that non-native actors were given cultural competency lessons before shooting. To help them slip into their characters, they had each one identified by a Native animal—Josh O’Connor became a tortoise, for example, and Emma Corrin chose a pampered domestic cat for Princess Diana.
The granddaughter of rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley has a new role in the “Mad Max” franchise. “Fury Road” director George Miller has cast Keough as one of the women that star Tom Hardy’s character tries to protect from his vicious gang of henchmen in the fourth installment of the post-apocalyptic series, which is scheduled for release in 2021.
Keough, who plays Zola in the film adaptation of the Twitter thread by A’Ziah “Zola” King, tells The Treatment that she was drawn to the script because it is rooted in social justice themes of race and class. She says she hews closely to the plot of the original tweet, sometimes quoting it verbatim in her film. But she adds that her theater background was an asset in blocking the scenes, using the camera like an audience in a play.
She also brings a sharp eye to her performance, which won critical acclaim. In a scene where Stefani, who is white, tries to seduce Zola by speaking in her own appropriation of African American Vernacular English, the actress’s deadpan expression ripples with disgust and exhaustion. Keough’s resonant work reminds viewers that white audiences must consider how they are seen when watching media depicting people from marginalized communities.
Whether she’s weighing matters of money and sex in Daisy Jones & The Six or staring down a romantic rival in American Honey, Keough is often striking on screen, with her ice-blue eyes and chin curved like a question mark. She knows when to lean in and emote, when to hold back and maintain her icy exterior and what to reveal with just a glance. She’s a natural when it comes to playing characters who are both vulnerable and fierce.
Four teenage girls, Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton), Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Sandy West (Elizabeth Banks) formed The Runaways around Rodney Bingenheimer’s mid-70s groupie paradise English Disco in Los Angeles. They signed to a manager named Kim Fowley who shaped their sound – basic heavy metal crossed with Suzi Quatro – and had them recorded the group’s debut album And Now…The Runaways! in 1977. But the band quickly split with Fowley, who was accused of failing to care for the girls by their parents and using divide and conquer tactics to keep control of the group.
Fowley’s departure in 1978 led to the group hiring Blondie’s manager Toby Mamis to manage them. A tour of Japan followed, and the girls were overwhelmed by the adoration from fans in line to meet them. However, growing divisions between Jett (who wanted to keep the band a punk act) and Ford/West (who favored a more heavy metal sound) contributed to their demise.
While the series is set in a fictional universe, Marvel’s Runaways draws heavily from historical records to create a believable storyline for the fictional rock band. And while the band members do not wear costumes or have codenames, they do try to break away from some of superhero conventions by not calling themselves “Runaways” – instead they go by their given names and refer to themselves as that when addressing one another.
The series stars Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Alia Shawkat as the eponymous Runaways, with Michael Shannon, who is playing Kim Fowley in the film, stealing many scenes with his flamboyant performance.
In addition to Marvel’s Runaways, Riley is starring in Amazon Prime’s Daisy Jones & The Six and has a movie due out next year called XX. Priscilla, on the other hand, is waging an unseemly battle with her granddaughter over who gets control of Elvis’ multimillion-dollar estate. For more on that and all the other drama unfolding at Graceland, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on sale Friday. Click here to subscribe to PEOPLE.