Here’s How ‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Learned to Speak Like the Legendary Singer

by Leanne Stahulak

While playing Elvis Presley in the upcoming biopic “Elvis,” star Austin Butler dedicated hours upon hours of time to perfecting his drawl.

Elvis has one of the most iconic voices in history, and not only when he sings. Austin Butler put in the work to make sure he emulated the legendary singer perfectly. Whether he was talking on stage or from the comfort of his home at Graceland.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this week, Butler revealed how he broke down Elvis’s speech to each individual word so he could practice it.

“I’d hear him say a certain word and I would clip just that bit out so I knew how he said that word,” Butler explained. “I created my own archive of how he said every word and every diphthong. And the way that he used musicality in his voice.”

Specifically, the “Elvis” star studied old interviews and past performances.

“There are so many people out there who are super-fans, who compile these websites that have the most amazing resources,” Austin Butler continued. “I scoured all of them. I looked at every YouTube video I could find and every film that I could watch, and I started making my own [sound catalog].”

But Butler also recruited professional dialect coaches, who worked with him on creating the singer’s rhythm with his words.

“I would take an interview or a speech that he had on stage where he is talking to the audience, and I would practice it as though I was trying to get it to be exact,” he said. “That way, I couldn’t hear a difference between my voice and his. Then I would have my dialect coach there going, ‘This is off a little bit,’ and I’d practice. I’d just keep honing it in until I could get as specific as possible.”

‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Explains How He Changed His Voice Depending on the Time Period

It wasn’t enough for Austin Butler to just mimic Elvis Presley’s voice, though. He also adjusted his technique depending on the era they were shooting at the time. “Elvis” covers the singer’s life from its early beginnings in the 1930s to his death in 1977.

“I broke it into time periods because his voice changed quite a lot over the course of his life,” Butler revealed. “So then I could break it up and go, ‘Okay, what am I filming today? I’m in ’62 — how does he sound here?'”

Butler added, “I think his voice changed a lot after he started hearing himself. Some of the very early recordings, he sounds a lot more Southern, a lot more uncensored in his Southern twang. And then, he starts deepening his voice a little bit and getting a little more diligent about how he speaks.”

Hear Butler’s take on Elvis Presley for yourself when “Elvis” hits theaters this Friday, June 24.