Elvis Star Austin Butler 'In Tears' After Director's Very Method Way Of Getting Him Into Character

Baz Luhrmann wanted the lead actor to experience something the King Of Rock n Roll did before filming one particular scene.
Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler at the Elvis premiere in June
Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler at the Elvis premiere in June
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images

Elvis star Austin Butler has revealed he was left in tears after director Baz Luhrmann went to great lengths to help the actor get into character as the music icon.

Austin took on the titular role in the big screen biopic, which was released last month, and had to endure a heckling from the director and studio executives as he prepared for one particular scene.

In the hit film, viewers see Elvis being jeered by a crowd as he plays one of his first performances, and Baz was keen to put Austin through a similar experience before filming.

Austin Butler
Austin Butler
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Recalling recording at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee where Elvis actually laid down more than 200 songs, Austin told VMAN: “Well, when I was on my first day in the recording studio, Baz wanted me to get as close to performing as possible.

“He had all the executives and everybody from RCA, who were back in the offices, he brought them into the recording studio and he goes, ‘I want you all to sit facing Austin,’… and he told them to heckle me.

“So then they were making fun of me and stuff while I was singing.”

Austin continued: “When we were filming this moment when Elvis first goes on stage and he’s getting heckled by the audience, I knew what that felt like. I went home in tears that night. I really did.”

The actor revealed that Leonardo DiCaprio, who worked with Baz on 1996 smash Romeo + Juliet, had warned him: “Baz is gonna push you in ways you didn’t know somebody could.”

Austin previously revealed how he lived as Elvis for nearly three years to transform into the hip-swiveling king of rock and roll.

He also told of how he had trouble de-transforming from the role after production wrapped, resulting in an unforeseen medical emergency.

“The next day I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital,” the actor told GQ. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis.”


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