Actor Austin Butler has talked about playing Elvis Presley, a man who has been immortalised in pop culture for decades, in the latest biopic ‘Elvis’.
He described the “King of Rock and Roll” as the wallpaper of society who was held up to a superhuman, God-like status.
Austin Butler mentioned that he had his dialect coach, and movement coach for the role, but as an actor, how did he find his way into a man who has been immortalized in pop culture for decades and how did he find a way to make that his own?
Austin Butler said: “That was the big challenge from the get-go because, as you say, Elvis has been immortalised in that way. I often say he’s become either the wallpaper of society.”
Meaning his image is ubiquitous, pretty much everywhere?
To which, Austin Butler replied: “Right, or he is held up to superhuman, God-like status. Neither one of those things are very accessible to an actor, and neither one of them embodies the full complexity and nuance of a human being. And so, for me, it was how do you find that?”
“It began with endless research and watching every documentary that I could find, watching anything I could find on YouTube or audio recordings of interviews of his.”
Elvis Presley’s story can be told in any number of ways, but the director Baz Luhrmann chose to focus on the relationship between Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker, who also serves as the narrator.
So are people getting Parker’s version of the story. What did he think of Luhrmann’s approach?
Austin Butler replied: “I think Baz is such an incredible filmmaker and storyteller, and an amazing human being on top of all that. I have so much faith in him and I think the way that he has approached this is really brilliant and unconventional, and a really exciting way of approaching such an extraordinary life.”
“It was a joy to get to watch. And also to see how Baz’s process evolved over the course of shooting, and still now in the editing, and how the story has continually taken new forms and been honed as the process has gone on.”