Austin Butler Addresses Why He Still Has an Elvis Presley Accent (Exclusive)
By Tionah Lee
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Austin Butler is finally getting to the bottom of the internet’s obsession with his “Elvis voice.” Over the weekend, ET spoke with the 30-year-old actor, who plays the King of Rock and Roll in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann-biopic Elvis, and he shared why he can’t shake the voice.
“At this point, I keep asking people, ‘Is this my voice?’ because this feels like my real … it’s one of those things where certain things trigger it and other times as well it’s, I don’t know,” Butler told ET’s Nischelle Turner. “When you live with something for two years, and you do nothing else, I think that you can't help it. It becomes a fiber of your being.”
In addition to singing and speaking like the iconic musician, Butler had to move his hips during some of the film’s big numbers -- moves the actor said he “had to work hard for.”
“The thing with him is they weren’t moves, they were coming out of the feel of the music,” he shared. “So, for me, it had to be about finding the feeling of the music, moving me in that way. That was really fun. It was liberating.”
When it came to the physicality of the King, Butler noted that the hardest part was embodying the actual person, not the idea of him -- and his quirks -- that were created by the world.
“There’s so many things out there that have become these caricatures, so even talking about him curling his lip, it’s something he didn’t do as much as we think he did,” Butler noted. “He’d do it for a photo.”
“It was finding how subtle can you go with things and still have the essence. It was this constant back and forth, and that’s the tricky thing, going back and forth between incredibly technical things and then never losing the humanity," he added. "Like, that was the goal, always have his soul in there.”
Butler was well aware that he had big blue suede shoes to fill when taking on the role, which had him, well, all shook up. “What made me nervous was, Elvis was so loved and so iconic, you feel responsibility playing any human that has actually lived, but with him it’s like, it’s a weight like I never felt before,” he said.
“And there’s a responsibility to his family and also putting his story into context. That's the thing. There were so many misconceptions about him, there’s so many ideas of him. So I felt a responsibly to bring the humanity," he shared.
Butler also noted another thing about the music icon that helped him when he got a little stage fright during filming.
“The fact that I knew he experienced stage fright, it relieved so much, 'cause I knew in those moments, I’m feeling fear, but he was feeling fear, so it’s not something that you need to not feel in order to do the things that you believe in,” he said. “So that was beautiful.”