Elvis actor: Austin Butker tells the movie about Elvis Presley

austin butker elvis presley

Austin Butler was born on August 17, 1991 in Anaheim, California. He is an extraordinary Elvis Presley in Elvis by Baz Lurhmann (Moulin Rouge !, Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby), out on Wednesday 22 June after the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Getty photo

Austin Butler’s eyes light up … “When I learned that I had been chosen by Baz Luhrmann for the role of Elvis Presley, I allowed myself a whole day in Los Angeles, in his places … And then I wanted to know if there was his wax statue at the Hollywood Museum Boulevard. I said to myself: I’ll give it my all give a body and a soul to this incomparable, inimitable icon of pop culture ».

Who is Austin Butler, lead actor of Elvis

Austin Butler, born in 1991, born in the borough of Anaheim (the realm of Walt Disney Pictures), has blue eyes and a contagious smile. He is indefatigable in sustaining “his of him” Elvis. That is the film that cost 100 million dollars later Top Gun: Maverick and looking forward to Bullet Train with Brad Pitt and Black Adam with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, should revive the fortunes of the box office. «Not a small responsibility. I really hope that parents and children choose not only to listen to the leitmotif If I Can Dream of the Maneskins, but also to deepen the relationship between Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker played by a great Tom Hanks ».

Linked to the young Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford and by her side at the world premiere of Elvis at the Cannes Film Festival, Austin likes to talk about himself. Less than his personal relationships, which have long seen him linked to actress Vanessa Hudgens.

austin butler kaia gerber

The kiss between Austin Butler and his girlfriend Kaia Gerber, model and daughter of Cindy Crawford, at the Cannes Film Festival. Getty photo

So sensual, so innocent

Director Baz Luhrmann said of him: «I think I’ve seen all the possible young actors, but when I “met” Austin’s blue and full of life eyes I had no doubts. He was my Elvis! I could already imagine him with the guitar, the black leather jackets, the hairstyles and all the movements of his body. In Austin I found the sensuality and also the innocence, the vitality that I wanted for Elvis. And my wife, the costume designer and set designer Catherine Martin who has signed all my films, has dedicated herself with total passion, an absolute adherence to the search for every Elvis dress ».

Austin in turn declares: «I was also literally ensnared by the a profound, never superficial portrait of America. From Elvis’ childhood in Mississippi to his becoming an icon throughout his 24-year career. American history runs parallel to my character’s life. With all the achievements of him, defeats, streaks of racism, presence of the mafia etc. etc… He was a dreamer, and he remained so to the end even if he failed to overcome the addictions into which he had fallen. Elvis was a strong and fragile man at the same time. An artist deep down, sometimes unable to face reality ».

austin butler baz luhrmann tom hanks elvis presley

Austin Butler, director Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks at the English premiere of the film, in London. Getty photo

The Austin Butler Interview: Becoming Elvis Presley

If you had to give the film another title, what would it be?
Elvis & The Colonel. It was truly an honor for me to play alongside Tom and I hope that the audience is thrilled, enthusiastic and even moved to relive their complex relationship. I am happy that Priscilla Presley (in the film Olivia DeJonge) enjoyed the film. It is not just a biopic, but a fresco of the fifties, sixties, seventies, of the rock and country world.

Is there a detail of your preparation for the role you want to tell us about?
Tom Hanks reminded me, and I wanted to see the film again, that it was Kurt Russell, uncredited, who voiced Presley in Forrest Gump. The scene where she learned the movements of Elvis the Pelvis …

From Disney Channel to Quentin Tarantino

Are you aware of how much your career will change now?
I don’t ask myself. I am an actor, as I have always dreamed of. TV and cinema have given me so much. I am proud to have been chosen and directed by Jim Jarmusch in The dead don’t die and Quentin Tarantino in Once upon a time in… Hollywood. But I don’t forget the television series Hannah Montana… I am proud to have worked for Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Baz Luhrmann cares a lot about his whimsical way of dressing. How did the collaboration with him and his wife go in choosing Elvis’ looks?
It was a great job together, because the visual rendering of our character was very important. It was also very helpful to see the films he played, such as the biographer Loving You 1957. And I enjoyed seeing Long live Las Vegas with Elvis and Ann-Margret.

Buz says the film also mirrors American history from the 1950s to 1970s. What did it mean for you to travel to the past of your country?
It was a stimulating journey. I also think it’s important for young people to find out when There was no internet and Elvis knew how to unite all of America. After all, even in the ruinous falls, Elvis was a kind of superhero… But the film generates authentic emotions, it is not a fantasy. Elvis’ fall remains moving. I was happy when my sister told me she cried at the end and thanked me for trying to make Elvis humanity.


Austin Butler in the film. To prepare he revised Finding Graceland (1998) with Harvey Keitel as an “Elvis” musician and True Romance (screenplay by Quentin Tarantino) in which Val Kilmer was the Elvis rocker.

What are the characteristics of Baz as a director?
One for me is fundamental: Buz knows how to dream and make people dream, but always remains attached to reality. I loved all of his films, in particular The Great Gatsby. What actor would not have wanted to be Leonardo DiCaprio? For my generation, Leo is a great example in all fields, also for his commitment to the environment.

Elvis, a young man with 60 million viewers

For many Elvis remains a mystery, difficult to focus on in its complexity …
The film it’s different from any other work on Elvis because it doesn’t draw the legend, it delves into his humanity. We must not forget that it was for him that rock’n’roll exploded in 1956. One fact is enough, which Baz revealed to me: on 9 September 1956, 60 million viewers tuned in toEd Sullivan Show to see Elvis. And he won’t forget his words: “I guess the more popular you are, the more criticism you get” (I think as you get more popular, you get more criticism too). But even when he said, back from Germany where he had been in the military, “It’s now or never”, now or never. I often repeat this to myself.

What will remain of Elvis in her?
Elvis was full of the will to live and this is a great quality. He never forgot the poor boy born in Mississippi that he had been. She always stayed inside him and led him to believe in what he was doing. When in 1968 he reinvented his career, he repeated to himself: “If I can dream…”.

austin butker elvis presley

Austin Butler at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Photo Getty

For the Colonel, Elvis was a business …
And it remained so even after his death. Although the Colonel kept repeating that he and Elvis had always been friends. Priscilla, her wife, told Tom Hanks: Elvis, the little boy from Mississippi who became a man tried by many experiences, never accepted a commitment to which he did not adhere with all his creativity. And this even when he knew he was going to lose a lot of money. Because, I repeat, Elvis has tried all his life to realize his motto: “If I can dream…”.


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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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