As the long-awaited and highly-hyped version of Baz Luhrmann biopic Elvis heads to our screens, it’s time to meet the person who will be stepping into the King’s shoes.
Here’s the low-down on who he is.
Who is he?
Born and raised in California’s Orange County, Butler he made his name as a regular on Disney, CW and Nickelodeon shows – such as Hannah Montana and The Wizards of Waverly Place – usually playing the role of boyfriend.
However, he has branched out in recent years, appearing opposite Denzel Washington in a stage performance of The Iceman Cometh in 2018 and later in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.
Butler reportedly blew away Luhrmann during the audition process - after sending in an audition video of himself singing Unchained Melody in his dressing gown. The director said that Butler was “carrying something of Elvis with him” when they first met. “He had a hint of the swagger, a touch of the sound.”
What is Elvis about?
It’s not a film for the faint-hearted. Luhrmann’s film covers the entire scope of Elvis Presley’s life, paying particular attention to his relationship with controlling manager Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).
By all accounts, Butler was intensely committed to the role – alongside learning to talk, sing and dance like Elvis, Luhrmann didn’t realise he didn’t have an authentic Southern accent until a significant way into filming.
“I asked one of my assistants, and the guy said, ‘Well, he’s not Southern. He’s from Anaheim [California],’” the director recently told a GQ interview.
“I don’t think, until recently, I actually came to understand how Austin actually sounded.”
Butler was also hospitalised after finishing the role – telling GQ that he “woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain… my body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis.”
That’s commitment, and it seems to have paid off: the star got a 12-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival after the film was screened.
What’s he up to after Elvis?
In addition to wrapping up the film, Butler has several projects lined up. First up is a leading role in the war drama series Masters of the Air, about the actions of the US Eighth Air Force during the Second World War.
There have also been rumours about a potential appearance in the second instalment of the Osar-winning Dune, playing the villain Feyd-Rautha: watch this space.
When does Elvis come out?
The film will premiere in cinemas on June 22, 2022.