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Riley Keough’s Riddle

“Zola,” based on a notorious Twitter thread, is about people who use social media for advertising, but Keough prefers to use it to pierce her own stardom: Although she has starred in a few films for trendy studio A24, Keough hopped on her Instagram last year to casually shake up all the A24 movies she couldn’t book, including “Uncut Gems,” “Spring Breakers” and “The Spectacular Now.”

The directors of those films texted Keough to apologize, but the refusals didn’t bother her much initially. “I don’t care if I fail,” she said. “I have this attitude of ‘Well, then I would do better.’” And besides, there were bigger dilemmas to spend this energy on.

“I’ve lived in some sort of existential crisis my whole life,” she told me in a neutral tone, putting strands of auburn hair behind her ear. “The minute I got to Earth, I was like, ‘What am I doing here? Why is everyone acting like it’s normal? ‘ “

Of course, Keough’s childhood was far from ordinary: when she was around 5 years old, her mother Lisa Marie Presley separated from her musician father, Danny Keough, and married Michael Jackson. One parent provided access to wealthy fortresses like Graceland and Neverland, while the other lived more modestly, in trailer parks with mattresses on the floor.

Keough had no qualms about visiting his father; once she even told him, “When I grow up I want to be poor like you.” She wasn’t sure then how offensive his remark was, but that forked childhood with her brother, Benjamin, would come in handy in her twenties, when Keough continued her acting work: she had built up enough authenticity to play roles. ordinary people as well as enough privileges to live a carefree life.

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