Many have attempted to play the King of Rock and Roll in various films, but Austin Butler wanted to get it right. He knew the opportunity was now or never.
“It was two years where I didn’t see my family. I didn’t see my friends. I isolated completely in the world of him,” he explained. “What a great guy to get to hang out with every day and learn everything about. I read every book on his life. I watched every frame of footage, every interview he ever gave.”
He immersed himself so much into the role, that the Southern California native still talks like the Memphis icon.
For his first screen test for the film, it was apparent the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” actor had done his homework. His singing of “That’s Alright Mama” caught the attention of KTLA’s Doug Kolk, who is quite the Elvis aficionado. He immediately recognized Butler was heavily influenced by the King’s 1968 comeback special.
“I was just kind of just sitting there, and we were just jamming, and Baz [Luhrmann] started rolling the camera and they said ‘Why don’t you just sing ‘That’s Alright Mama’?'” Butler explained. “I started singing it, and I had watched ’68 so much but I’m in the 50s, so you see kind of the two merging in that moment.”
The Baz Luhrmann film is from the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ longtime manager.
“Elvis” is in theaters now.