Imagine giving your all for a role and then finding yourself in the emergency room as happened to Austin Butler. He, of course, embodied Elvis Presley in the Baz Luhrmann biopic Elvis. While he called playing Presley “the greatest ride of my life,” the work caught up with him.
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“I didn’t get sick the entire time I filmed, but the day that I finished, I ended up in the emergency room,” Butler told PEOPLE on the red carpet for the 2023 SAG Awards on Sunday. The actor revealed that he “spent a week in bed” before going on to another project.
Austin Butler Contracted Virus That Simulated Symptoms Of Appendicits
Back in May 2022, Austin Butler told British GQ that he “woke up at 4 in the morning with excruciating pain” and was “rushed to hospital.” That was due to a virus he contracted that simulated the symptoms of appendicitis. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished ‘Elvis,'” Butler said.
But his trip to the ER wasn’t the only health challenge he faced while taking portraying Elvis. He also told PEOPLE that he lost his now-memorable voice while singing Elvis’ version of “Never Been to Spain.”
“We did so many takes. And at a certain point, I just lost my voice,” Butler said. “So then I went on vocal rest for a couple days, and I was able to come back.”
Butler has been very committed to Elvis’ voice as he continues to talk like the late singer. Many say still using the voice is “cringe.”
Voice Coach Defends Butler Having Elvis Accent Even After Filming Is Complete
Voice coach Irene Bartlett, who was hired to work with Austin Butler in 2019, defended his ever-lasting Elvis accent. She told ABC Gold Coast that he spent years building a “connection” with Elvis’ personality and was fully committed to playing the part, the New York Post reports.
“I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board,” she said. “I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”
She also admitted that the transformation of Butler’s voice for older Elvis could have been too much of a strain on him. “You get through it all,” Butler concluded. “There was those days, but it was the greatest ride of my life.”
Butler was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the 2023 SAG Awards — though he didn’t win. He did, however, win a best actor Golden Globe for his performance in the biopic.