Austin Butler speaks to Nischelle Turner of Entertainment Tonight about how he felt during his physical transformation into the ‘King of Rock & Roll’ for ‘Elvis.’ The actor, 30, opens up about the experience of portraying the iconic singer Baz Luhrman‘s musical biopic.
Austin stated, anyone feels responsibility playing a character of any human that has actually lived, but playing Elvis was a weight he’s never felt before. Adding there was much responsibility needed to do, as considering Elvis family, putting his story into context and all the big misconceptions about him.
“There’s so many ideas of him so I felt such a responsibility to bring the humanity”.
The actor also stated he was at a relieve knowing Elvis” King of Rock & Roll’ also experienced stage fright, because he had the same experience.
“I was nervous and afraid of the big numbers with tons of extras, to go out there and perform in front of a lot of people,” Butler admits in behind-the-scenes footage from Elvis, which hits theaters on June 24. “I was filled with terror at that idea.”
Butler even reveals that he started studying for the part before auditioning! “I just treated it as if I already had the job,” he shares “This was January, two years ago, and then by about February, they hadn’t even started auditioning yet, and I sent Baz a video of me playing the piano and singing ‘Unchained Melody.'”
Despite the physical effects the role had on Butler, he still had a rewarding experience portraying Presley, and developed a strong sense of respect for the singer.
Austin had the iconic singers wife, Priscilla Presley’s approval.
Butler added he ended up becoming super-comfortable in the role once he felt the connection with his ‘audience’. “There were days I didn’t want the day to be over!”
In fact, Butler immersed himself in the role so deeply that it affected his health.
Last month, Butler told GQ magazine he was diagnosed with a virus that hospitalized him the day after he wrapped production on Baz Luhrmann’s music biopic. The virus simulated appendicitis and left Butler bedridden for one week: “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis.”
‘Elvis’ hits theaters on June 24.