Austin Butler, the new Elvis: who is he?

The King of Rock and Roll
California Dreaming
Home-schooled to focus on acting
How was he discovered?
Starting in TV
Austin Butler on Nickelodeon
Crossing over to film
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Star of stage and screen
Then came 'Elvis'
Auditioning for the role
Unchained Melody in bathrobe
A great reference
Dedicated to the extreme
Preparing to play Elvis took its toll
Getting to know Elvis
Similarities to the late, great singer
Connecting with Elvis
Elvis and Austin: music Lovers
Blonde or brunette
Did the film have the support of the Elvis Estate?
Who else is in the film?
What's Austin Butler's relationship status?
Kaia Gerber
Oscar-worthy performance?
Lisa Marie says
The King of Rock and Roll

With the release of Baz Luhrmann's Elvis film in cinemas, we take a look at Austin Butler, the man portraying the King of Rock and Roll.

California Dreaming

Austin was born in California on August 17, 1991. He has an older sister and his parents divorced when he was seven. We can only imagine his parents were supportive of his dream to become an actor, as he had interesting schooling which would pave the way for stardom.

Home-schooled to focus on acting

Butler attended public school until the seventh grade. Then he left and was home-schooled in order to focus on his acting career. He continued his home-school education until the tenth grade when he decided to finish his formal high school education.

How was he discovered?

When Austin was 13, a chance meeting at the Orange County Fair with a representative from an acting management agency put this young actor on the road to stardom.

Starting in TV

He began his career on television and had a guest role in two episodes of the teen show 'Hannah Montana.' He also had a recurring role in the television series 'Switched at Birth' and then main roles in 'The Carrie Diaries' and 'The Shannara Chronicles'. He has changed a lot since then but has still retained his baby-faced features.

Austin Butler on Nickelodeon

His first main role came in 2008 when he was cast as Jamie Lynn Spears' crush in the Nickelodeon series, 'Zoey 101'. He joined in the fourth season of the series but certainly made his mark as swoonable James Garrett.

Crossing over to film

Butler starred in 'Aliens in the Attic' which would be his film debut for 20th Century Fox. It is a family adventure film from 2009 (yes he was only 18) where he tried to save the world from an alien invasion.

Photo: 'Aliens in the Attic' still/20th Century Studios.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Austin also played Manson family member Charles 'Tex' Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.' That's how you may have gotten acquainted with him for the first time.

Star of stage and screen

Austin hasn’t just worked on TV and in film. He also appeared with Denzel Washington in a critically acclaimed theater performance of Eugene O’Neill’s 'The Iceman Cometh.'

Then came 'Elvis'

The 30-year-old landed the role of Elvis Presley beating competitors like Harry Styles, Miles Teller, and Ansel Elgort. According to 'Celebrity Nine,' all of these celebrities were names considered for the role.

Auditioning for the role

Austin sent his audition tape to Baz Luhrmann. It was such a bizarre audition that the colorful director needed to know more.

Unchained Melody in bathrobe

Austin had sung a heartfelt rendition of 'Unchained Melody' while wearing a bathrobe. It was enough to make Lurhmann confused and intrigued, he told GQ. "Was it an audition? Or was he having a breakdown?" Luhrmann thought to himself.

A great reference

And then there was something else in Austin Butler's favor. "I get a phone call out of the blue from Denzel Washington, who I did not know," Luhrmann revealed to GQ. "Denzel Washington just said, in the most incredibly emotional and direct way, 'Look, I've just been on stage with this young actor. I'm telling you, his work ethic is unlike anything I've ever seen. I've never seen anyone who devotes every single second of their lives to perfecting a role.'"

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Dedicated to the extreme

And so, one way or another, Austin Butler got the role. When the pandemic hit, the production had to be postponed, which gave Butler the opportunity to really get into the role. At the same time, he says, he neglected his sister and friends as he engrossed himself in deep character analysis, cutting himself off from the rest of the world.

Preparing to play Elvis took its toll

In fact, he spent so much energy and soul delving into Elvis' character that he was hospitalized for a week after filming, as reported by El País.

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Getting to know Elvis

"Elvis is so well-known and there's so many people out there who know every detail about his life," he says. "The thing that I was most fascinated by, was [the question], who is he when you strip all that away, and who was the man?" he told People magazine.

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Similarities to the late, great singer

Austin can embody the life of Elvis strongly because he connects with him on a personal level. His mother died of cancer when he was 23 years old. Elvis’ mother also passed away when the 'Unchained Melody' singer was 23 years old, as reported by El País.

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Connecting with Elvis

Luhrmann mentioned to GQ that Austin had another special connection with Elvis: his spirituality. Elvis was a religious person and Luhrmann said that "Austin has a really spiritual quality to him. He has a very sensitive and big inner life." Butler definitely sounds like the right guy for the role.

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Elvis and Austin: music Lovers

The actor has been playing guitar and studying music since he was 13 years old. He also sings in the film as young Elvis. For the later, Las Vegas years, his voice is mixed with real Elvis performances.

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Blonde or brunette

When he first started acting, Austin Butler was known for his blonde hair. The actor is a natural blonde, but in order to portray Elvis Presley, he dyed his hair black.

Did the film have the support of the Elvis Estate?

Yes, both Austin and Baz spoke with Priscilla Presley and they even attended the screening of Elvis together at the Cannes film festival. According to GQ, Priscilla embraced Austin and told him he had all their support.

Who else is in the film?

Nobody less than Tom Hanks - playing Elvis' manager, the mysterious and controlling Colonel Tom Parker. Maggie Gyllenhaal also stars in the movie. And so does Olivia DeJonge (photo), with whom he was allegedly in a relationship during filming, if we have to believe the gossip columns.

What's Austin Butler's relationship status?

He was in a long-term relationship with fellow actress Vanessa Hudgens but that sadly ended in 2020. He has also been spotted out with Lily-Rose Depp, but now he is dating model Kaia Gerber.

Kaia Gerber

US Weekly cites a source who notes that Austin and Kaia became an unofficial couple in December 2021: "They are low-key dating. It's still very new." The model is Cindy Crawford’s daughter and 10 years younger than the actor.

Oscar-worthy performance?

Putting personal relationships aside, it is clear Austin Butler has a deeply connected bond with the rock and roll singer. He has been praised for his performance in reviews. It wouldn't be surprising to see the musical biopic actor taking home the big awards for this performance. Just look at Joaquin Phoenix in 'Walk the Line' and Rami Malek in 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

Lisa Marie says "yes!"

But for now, the comments come from a place that's closer to the heart. Elvis Presley's only daughter, Lisa Marie, insisted that, if Butler doesn't take home the Oscar for his portrayal of her father, she will "eat [her] own foot."

Photo: Still from 'Elvis' Trailer, Warner Bros.

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