Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated new flick Elvis is finally set for release this month, with leading man Austin Butler putting on an incredible performance as the King of Rock and Roll himself Elvis Presley.
The film follows a young Elvis and his rise to fame in the 1950s and reveals the complex relationship he had with his manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). We are taken on a heartbreaking journey as Parker abuses his position of power and acts against Elvis’ best interests.
Elvis shows us the heartbreaking reality of the singer’s life including his mother’s passing, his divorce, and Parker not allowing him to truly flourish as a singer.
It’s a credit to Tom’s acting skills that viewers find Colonel Parker so unlikeable, something we never thought we’d ever think about one of Hollywood’s most popular actors.
Austin shines in the film, which was shot on the Gold Coast, and during a chat with Yahoo Lifestyle, the actor apologised for breaking our hearts and for creating a film that made Tom so unlikeable.
“Oh wow, I’m sorry!” he said with a laugh. “It wasn’t my choice!”
He continued, “See I thought Tom was amazing. When I would look him in the eyes on set. He was so justified in his behaviour. I thought they showed such mastery of craft. The fact that he could have that twinkle and be so justified in his actions.”
The star laughed and held his hands up, once again adding, “I’m sorry!”
“I had two years where I didn’t do anything else,” he tells us. “And I woke up every day with this terror of the weight of it all and so I just tried to leave no stone unturned and I tried a lot of different things in that time.
And I had an amazing group of people around me, my movement coach Polly Bennett during the entire production. Singing coaches, voice coaches, my karate instructor – I had tonnes of people around me,” he said, adding he had a year and a half of preparation before filming even began.
When asked if it was hard to ‘shake’ Elvis off after such a long time as the character, Austin responded, “Yeah, you don’t quite know what to do with yourself after that time.”
Responding to TikTok claims his voice changed
In the time since Austin finished shooting the film, some fans on TikTok have claimed he’s still using his ‘Elvis’ voice or doing an ‘Elvis impression’, when asked about this Austin laughed and told us, “Yeah, somebody was telling me about that.”
“It’s funny because certain situations trigger it I think,” he added. “You know, for one, being surrounded by his name everywhere and then two, it becomes I think as well something where I mean… that was the voice that I spoke in for two years. It is so habitual at the end, you get done and you kind of don’t remember what your natural voice is.”
The actor added that he thinks most of the comparisons being drawn are to the 17-year-old version of himself, “I’m 30 now so my voice has dropped a bit so it’s funny.”
Austin then offered an interesting explanation, saying, “Voices are a funny thing because I also – when I’m shy I notice that, you know red carpets and stuff make me very shy, and so when you’re doing interviews there’s something where I think unconsciously, I’ll click into the place where I felt confident, which Elvis had.
“You know, while he was a shy person – being on stage, I had never been on stage in front of that many people. So there’s also triggers in that way, which I think are fascinating.”
‘Out of body experience’
Speaking of the moment he really felt like he was Elvis, Austin shared that the scene where he performed the ’68 Comeback Special was a “monumental shift” for him.
“It was subtle things, I mean, it was sort of every day I’d find these keys,” he explained. “And I know the very first performance I did which was ’68 was a monumental shift for me because I was so nervous for it. And I can rest on the fact that Elvis was also very nervous.”
He continued, “So, once I went out there and suddenly I’m on stage, and I’m feeling genuine connection with the audience and it became sort of like this out of body experience that really changed things for me.”
When asked if he wished Elvis could have seen Austin’s portrayal of him, the actor said, “I wish he was alive today to experience how loved he is. You know, to know that he wasn’t forgotten after he passed away because he really felt that way towards the end.”
“And also once, Priscilla [Presley], she said some things about if Elvis was here today how he would feel, and that really that moved me to tears so, yeah I wish he was here to see it, because it would mean that I could hang out with him!”