What does Austin Butler’s voice sound like? In the event you’d by no means seen a video of or tuned into an interview with him earlier than he devoted his whole life to his titular function in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic Elvis, you’d be arduous pressed to know. Luhrmann has mentioned that he solely just lately came upon, however he appears to be alone in that discovery: The 30-year-old actor—who has repeatedly demonstrated his behavior of slipping into the late icon’s voice for months—doesn’t even know himself. “At this level, I preserve asking individuals, ‘Is that this my voice?’ as a result of this looks like my actual…,” he advised Entertainment Tonight over the weekend. “It’s a type of issues the place sure issues set off it and different occasions as properly it’s, I don’t know. Whenever you dwell with one thing for 2 years, and also you do nothing else, I believe you can’t assist it. It turns into a fiber of your being.”
Butler claims that he was so dedicated to selecting up Elvis’s muscular habits, his mouth modified. That will sound arduous to consider, however the actor had already spent a lot time perfecting Elvis’s Southern drawl that by the point he first met with Luhrmann concerning the function, the director was satisfied that he was from Texas. (“I used to be advised, ‘Oh no—he’s from Anaheim [in California],’” he just lately advised the New York Times.) That was just the start: Over the course of the following two years, Butler did his utmost to turn into Elvis incarnate. His already properly regarded work ethic was magnified by the truth that he had countless time on his arms, having gotten caught alone in Australia amid lockdown throughout filming. He papered his partitions with pictures of the musician, and spent his days learning and mimicking Elvis’s actions along with his voice.
Pouring himself into the function got here with a price for Butler. He put a lot power into resurrecting Elvis that his physique revolted lower than 24 hours after they completed filming. “My physique simply began shutting down,” he advised GQ final month. After being rushed to the hospital, he was bedridden for every week. Ultimately, although, it simply could have been value it: A Finest Actor Oscar win appears all however assured. And if he doesn’t take house the trophy, properly, the Academy may have blood on its arms. Lisa Marie Presley—who has repeatedly praised Butler for his portrayal of her late father—has said that if it fails to award him, she’ll “eat [her] foot.”