‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Reveals Mom’s Death Connected Him to Presley

by Emily Morgan

Elvis hasn’t hit theaters yet; however, that hasn’t stopped people from praising Austin Butler for his performance in the biopic about Elvis Presley. From his dance moves to his accent, many are commending the young actor for his portrayal of the iconic crooner. Yet, Butler once thought he had nothing in common with The King. 

However, when Butler started researching Presley, all that changed. As he completed a deep dive into the icon’s personal life, the 30-year-old actor realized a heartwrenching detail that connected him to the role in the upcoming flick. 

On Thursday, during a “Today with Hoda and Jenna” appearance, Butler admitted he once struggled to find common ground with the historical figure initially. 

“When you first look at Elvis, he feels so much larger than life and you look at him like a God-like figure or a caricature of Elvis, and I fell into that the first month when I was trying to work on it,” Butler told the co-hosts. 

As it turns out, it wasn’t until he learned that he and the “Burning Love” hitmaker both lost their mothers when they were 23 that he could fully connect and understand Presley’s mindset. 

“When I learned about his mom — and then knowing that we were the exact same age — that just hit me,” he explained. “It was just one of those things where you know the stars are aligning and that just became the most personal thing.”

Butler tragically lost his mother, Lori Butler, in 2014 after she lost her battle with cancer, he revealed to Vogue. Similarly, the Memphis megastar lost his mother, Gladys Presley, in 1958 when she died from a heart attack.

The shocking amount of time Austin Butler spent away from his family in his Elvis preparation

Earlier in June, the film’s director Baz Luhrmann said Butler was “born to play” the role. “You know, we can talk about it now, he like loses his mom at the same age that Elvis did,” Luhrmann said of the young actor. 

Austin Butler also admitted he put his life on pause to better prepare for the role. 

“I basically put the rest of my life on pause for two years,” Butler said at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where the film premiered. “I just absorbed everything that I possibly could.”

In addition, Butler’s voice isn’t the only thing that changed when he took on the role. As it turns out, Butler took a significant step back from his family for an extreme amount of time to prepare. Some might say he even became obsessed while getting ready for the role.

“I didn’t see my family for—it turned out to be three years,” Butler said in an interview. “I didn’t see any one of my friends for that entire time. So, it was like the rest of my life, suddenly, I compartmentalized.”