Former Elvis Presley Actor Bruce Campbell Speaks Out About Austin Butler’s Portrayal of The King

by Alex Falls

The world is still talking about Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis Presley in the new musical biopic. Everyone from Butler’s co-stars to Presley’s surviving family members have heaped praise upon the young actor for his dedicated and convincing performance. But Bruce Campbell had a more muted response to Butler compared to most others.

Campbell is a veteran character actor who’s acted in countless films and TV shows. He’s perhaps best known for his role as Ash Williams in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise. However, like Butler, he’s also portrayed Elvis in film. But in a very different capacity.

Campbell donned the jumpsuit in the horror-comedy film Bubba Ho-Tep. A much more satirical role than Butler’s portrayal, Campbell plays an elderly version of The King after switching lives with an impersonator many years prior.

Campbell took part in this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to promote his small but memorable appearance in the Marvel universe. Variety caught up with the actor to get his opinion on Butler’s portrayal as Elvis, and he didn’t seem as impressed as others have been.

“Well, he tried, didn’t he? He sure tried hard. He’s a hard-working actor, that boy. He sure is, yep,” Campbell said about Butler. Certainly less than the enthusiastic response Butler’s performance normally receives.

What Everyone Else Thinks of Butler’s Performance

Elsewhere in the entertainment world, people can’t stop talking about Butler’s transformation into the King of Rock and Roll. There’s major Oscar buzz surrounding the young actor. Butler also had the privilege of starring opposite one of Hollywood’s greatest living actors. Tom Hanks co-stars in Elvis as the singer’s manager Col. Tom Parker, and he hasn’t been shy about singing his praise for Butler.

“It was one of those things Baz does where he recreated a scene for the movie and it was Austin. Except it was Elvis,” Hanks said. “That’s all you could say. That’s the guy… Austin found some deep, molecular connection to Elvis, and Baz saw that.”

Hanks went on to further praise Butler’s irresistible performance. “I have to say, you could not take your eyes off of Austin Butler. He did not phone in a thing, did not fake a thing, he undeniably went there; the dedication that he gave to [the role] was impressive right off the bat.”

The praise for Butler even comes from the people who were closest to Elvis himself. Lisa Marie Presley was only nine years old when her famous father passed away. But she still holds her father’s memory close to her, and she hasn’t been shy about letting the world know what she thinks about Butler’s portrayal of her father.

“It’s almost as if he channeled him,” Lisa Marie said in a new 20/20 special, per Entertainment Weekly. “He put everything he had, his heart, his soul, everything he had into researching, reading, watching, learning. He honored him in every way possible.”