‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Describes the Grueling 5-Month Audition

by Caitlin Berard

From the rave reviews from the entire Presley family, it appears that Baz Luhrmann couldn’t have chosen a better star for his Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis. Elvis’ only daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, even broke a 3-month social media hiatus to praise Austin Butler, the actor behind Elvis.

In Lisa’s words, Austin “channeled and embodied” Elvis’ “heart and soul beautifully”. She continued to say that “his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”

For many weeks now, Austin Butler has been receiving well-earned adoration for his performance. Getting to this moment, however, was even more difficult than you might expect. According to the Elvis actor, earning the starring role in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic was nothing short of grueling.

The audition process began when Austin Butler sent Luhrmann a video of himself singing the Elvis Presley classic “Unchained Melody” while playing the piano, but for Butler, this performance was just the beginning.

“Then I flew to New York and we met,” Butler explained on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “And we just talked for three hours,” Butler recalled. “Then [Luhrmann] said, ‘Do you want to come in tomorrow and read a couple scenes from the script? … Do you want to come in tomorrow and sing a couple songs?'”

“We ended up doing that for five months,” he continued. “It was unlike any audition.”

Baz Luhrmann’s audition process was so intense, in fact, that Austin Butler was sure he didn’t get the part. It was only after receiving a call from Luhrmann himself that Butler knew he was successful.

Austin Butler Explains His Lingering Elvis Presley Accent

Though filming for Elvis ended months ago, Austin Butler has found it difficult to get back to who he was before Elvis. After two years of walking, talking, and breathing nothing but The King, Butler feels that Elvis has become a part of him.

Everything from his mannerisms to his tastes to his voice is now tinged with Elvis Presley. But to Austin Butler, this isn’t the least bit surprising. He was so committed to nailing his role as Elvis that he’s not even sure where Elvis’ voice ends and his begins.

“I didn’t do anything else for two years,” Butler explained. “That’s such a large chunk of life. I’m not surprised that it clicks in. You spend so much time obsessing about one thing, and it really is like muscular habits. Your mouth can change. It’s pretty amazing.”

“When I know that there are bits of Elvis that I’d have to click into in order to go on stage and be in front of a ton of people, being surrounded by his name everywhere, there’s a trigger,” he added.