21 jun 2022

3 things to know about rock’n’roll actress Riley Keough, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter

At just 33, Elvis Presley’s ultra-magnetic granddaughter continues to make bold and powerful feature films, and has just presented War Pony, her first film as a director, at the Cannes Film Festival. Soon to be starring in four long-awaited series – Cult Following, The Terminal List, Daisy Jones & The Six, and A Life in Men – here is a portrait of a star destined to shine as brightly as her renowned grandfather’s rhinestone suits “made in Las Vegas”.

Riley Keough at the “Louis Vuitton Unveils Louis Vuitton X: An Immersive Journey” event in Beverly Hills, California, in June 2019.

1. A rock’n’roll charisma


While many stars have famous parents, such as Lily-Rose Depp, Dakota Johnson, or Zoë Kravitz – a trend recently coined them as “nepotism babies” on TikTok – Riley Keough’s background is particularly impressive. Her grandfather is the King of rock’n’roll Elvis Presley, who will soon be celebrated in a glittering biopic by Baz Luhrmann which moved Riley Keough to tears, while her grandmother, Priscilla Presley, was the actress in Dallas, Is There a Cop to Save the Queen?. Her father Danny Keough was a musician and her mother, the singer and songwriter Lisa Marie Presley, used to be married to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage. Two artists who helped raise the little girl.


From this royal ancestry, the wild heroine of Logan Lucky (2017) still has a very rock’n’roll aura – a tousled mane worthy of a folk singer from the 1970s, a constantly disillusioned air, and wild looks inspired by her fashion icon Jimi Hendrix. But the family history of the 33-year-old California-born is also marked by tragedy. In addition to the awful death of her grandfather, who spiraled down into depression and medication, her brother, Benjamin Keough, committed suicide in 2020 at the age of 27. After his death, the actress trained herself to become a “death doula” so that she could help others through their hardship.

2. Bold film choices


With her natural light eyes, charisma and slender figure, Riley Keough quickly became a fashion magnet. Starting out as a model at the age of 15, the King’s granddaughter walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana and was the face of Dior. Today, she keeps attending Chanel and Louis Vuitton events, but cinema is what seems to appeal to her the most. The actress with the touching pout enjoys playing complex roles in assertive and daring universes, where music, sex, and violence are combined. She was part of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Magic Mike (2012), and The Runaways (2010), which tells the story of Joan Jett’s rock band, and in which her friend Kristen Stewart stars too.


Keeping that in mind, she also got spotted in the excellent American Honey (2016), Under the Silver Lake (2018), The Devil, All the Time with Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland (2020) and Zola (2020), a surreal road trip following two overexcited strippers, inspired by a true story relayed on Twitter. But her biggest role remains the falsely cynical call girl she embodied in The Girlfriend Experience, a series produced by Steven Soderbergh in 2016. Rather modest in real life, the actress plays Christine, a law student by day and escort girl by night. With great subtlety, she gives shape and heart to this intriguing and apparently cold young woman, who moves from college lecture halls to Chicago’s luxury hotel suites without batting an eye.

Riley Keough in Logan Lucky (2017).

3. Exciting upcoming projects


Riley Keough is neither resting on the laurels of her notorious family heritage, nor on her badass yet mysterious charm. Able to go from a role in a film by Lars Von Trier to an appearance in the teen drama series Riverdale, she is constantly taking risks and picking eclectic projects, often off the beaten track. She appeared in Justin Timberlake’s video for TKO (2013), in which she tortured the singer by dragging him down the road in a huge car, and will soon be starring in several shows that will be talked about a lot for sure.


She will be seen next in Cult Following, a series about the Children of God cult with Dakota Johnson, in A Life in Men alongside Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart, and in Daisy Jones & The Six, which tells about the adventures of a rock girl band from Los Angeles in the 1970s. The actress, who will be starring with Chris Pratt in the Prime Video sci-fi series The Terminal List available on July 1st , will not simply follow the filmmakers’ visions, however enthralling they may be. At the Cannes Festival, Jonah Hill’s former girlfriend presented her first film War Pony, which she directed with her producer Gina Gammell. Selected in the “Un Certain Regard” category, the film focuses on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a territory in South Dakota marked by Native American militancy. Ambitious, versatile, and hyperactive, Riley Keough has learned from her rock’n’roll grandfather – “Never wait for tomorrow, what if tomorrow never comes?


The Terminal List (2022), available on Prime Video on July 1st, 2022.