The actor spoke about the health scare during an interview with GQ published on Wednesday.
"My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis," Austin explained. "The next day I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to the hospital." As for the diagnosis, the actor says he suffered from a virus that simulates appendicitis and ultimately ended up spending a full week bedridden.
The role was also an emotional one. He spoke to GQ about his trek to Graceland, where he first met Elvis’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, and was greeted with unconditional support from her. “She looked like an angel,” Austin recalls. “I walked down the hall with Baz afterwards with tears in my eyes.”
While the role took a lot of transformation for him, there was one significant life experience Austin and Elvis shared. "His mother passed away when he was 23, and my mom passed away when I was 23,” he said. “So when I learned that, it was one of those things where I got chills, and I just thought, 'Okay, I can connect to that.'”
Earlier this month, Priscilla praised Austin for his portrayal of her ex-husband in the film, which she got a first look at.
"This story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker's relationship," Priscilla wrote in a recap on her Facebook page. "It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered. Austin Butler, who played Elvis is outstanding."
"Halfway through the film Jerry [Schilling] and I looked at each other and said WOW!!! Bravo to him," she added. "He knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine."
Days later, Austin posed with Priscilla on the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala, where she once again gushed over the movie.
"I love the movie," she said during a red carpet interview for Vogue. "I think the young generation is gonna see and know what Elvis is all about, and learn a little more about him."
For Austin, the most important part of the film was "making all the people who loved Elvis so much proud and doing [him] justice," he said in a Vogue interview.
"I just set out to find his humanity as much as I could," Austin said, "and bring that out with as much life as much as I could."