Austin Butler, known for his role as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, has faced criticism for sounding too much like the iconic musician. However, he has found something more profound through the experience: a newfound relationship with fear.
Playing a widely imitated figure like Elvis brought about immense pressure and even caused Butler to suffer from impostor syndrome. Over the course of two years, fear plagued him and disrupted his sleep. However, he managed to transform that fear into a guiding compass, pushing him to face his fears rather than shy away from them.
Following his Golden Globe win and subsequent BAFTA and Oscar nominations, Butler is now considered a strong contender for an Academy Award. In an interview with The Associated Press, he discussed his approach to the role, aiming to make it feel human and authentic rather than a mere impersonation.
He spent a considerable amount of time immersing himself in the character’s life and spirit, focusing on internalizing the essence of Elvis rather than getting caught up in external mimicry.
Reflecting on his journey, Butler acknowledges the emotional rollercoaster he has been on, from career highs to personal tragedies. The recent passing of Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’s daughter, added a bittersweet element to the film’s significance.
While it was difficult to celebrate amidst the grief, Butler recognizes the importance of the film to Lisa Marie and her dedication to preserving her father’s legacy. The experience of loss has put things into perspective for him.
When asked about the lasting impact of the role, Butler admits that it has fundamentally changed his relationship with fear. Undertaking such a daunting task made him question his own abilities and grapple with feelings of impostor syndrome.
However, he has learned to view fear as a motivator rather than an obstacle. Embracing fear has become a guiding principle, pushing him to confront challenges head-on and continue pushing forward.
Ultimately, playing Elvis has left an indelible mark on Butler, shaping his perspective and approach to life. The experience of delving into the role has transformed his perception of fear, empowering him to face it rather than be hindered by it.