Austin Butler On Channeling Elvis Presley, How Denzel Helped, And Why He Got No Sleep

Elvis Presley never got an Oscar nomination, but the man who plays him in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie, Elvis is almost certain to land in the Best Actor race this year for a performance that has won high praise, none higher or more important though than from Priscilla Presley herself who has said she thought at times she was actually seeing her husband on the screen.

Austin Butler joins me for this week’s edition of my Deadline video series, The Actor’s Side to talk about the challenges he faced in playing Presley, the audition process, how a long break because of the pandemic almost meant the movie would be scrapped, and also how he virtually didn’t sleep for the nearly two years he knew he had the role to its completion. He also talks about how Denzel Washington his fellow actor in the Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh played a key role in getting him the opportunity to meet with Luhrmann.


Warner Bros.

Butler has been noticed before in big movies, playing Tex Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and he will also be seen as Feyd-Rautha in Dune Part 2. But he was probably best known pre-Elvis for his stints on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in shows like Hannah Montana, I Carly, and Zoey 101. That is well in the past now as the actor has been nominated already at the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes with undoubtedly more to come. To watch our conversation just click on the link above.

Join me every Wednesday during Oscar season for another episode of The Actor’s Side.

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