Austin Butler on Elvis Advice He Received From Rami Malek
Austin Butler Shares the Advice Rami Malek Gave Him to Prep For "Elvis"
Austin Butler is receiving glowing reviews about his performance in "Elvis," but the 30-year-old actor wasn't always confident in his portrayal of the rock 'n' roll icon. In 2019, Butler snagged the role of a lifetime in director Baz Luhrmann's film with some assistance from Denzel Washington. However, ahead of filming for "Elvis," he sought out advice from fellow actor/"Bohemian Rhapsody" star Rami Malek to help calm his nerves.
"I was on the verge of an anxiety attack [and], I just didn't feel ready at that time — then I spoke to Rami, and he really helped me."
"He was very helpful when I was going through a near panic attack before starting," he jokingly reveals to POPSUGAR. "We actually spoke before COVID. So I was about to start shooting, and I didn't feel ready. I was on the verge of an anxiety attack [and], I just didn't feel ready at that time — then I spoke to Rami, and he really helped me."
Butler also shares that following his talk with Malek, production for the film shut down for roughly six months due to concerns around the pandemic, leaving him a huge gap of time to "marinate" on how he'd tackle his performance for "Elvis" — he nearly psyched himself out. "There was this thing where I had an unrealistic expectation that I could somehow contort my face to look exactly like Elvis," Butler shares. "Or I looked at other people, and I go, 'They look more like him,' that sort of thing — you start judging yourself. So for me, Rami was like, 'At the end of the day, it's not about that. You don't want to go to the Wax Museum and just see that. You want to see your soul and his soul colliding and creating something we've never seen before.'"
He added: "That was so liberating to me because then I still focused on the specifics every day. I painstakingly obsessed about his voice and how it changed, his movements and how they changed, learning karate and all of these things. But, at the end of the day, it was [Elvis's] humanity that was important to me, so that became the throughline to the rest of it."
"He genuinely grabbed his spirit like I've never seen before . . . he nailed it."
Ahead of the global "Elvis" premiere, Butler's Presley has gotten cosigns from the late singer's ex-wife, Priscilla, their daughter Lisa Marie, and granddaughter, Riley Keough. On June 11, during a special press screening of "Elvis," the entire film's cast — which includes Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia Dejonge, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Alton Mason, and Yola — as well as Presley's family arrived at the icon's Graceland in Memphis, TN, to introduce the cinematic take on his life story. Presley's family praised Butler and the cast once again, thanking them for handling the rock 'n' roll pioneer's story with care.
"In my life, it's been one disappointment after the other in terms of people portraying my father," Lisa Marie shared. "At this point, I tell you this with all my heart . . . it's been done right in every way. It's hard for me to even get the words out to Austin . . . he genuinely grabbed his spirit like I've never seen before . . . he nailed it."
"Elvis" hit theaters worldwide on June 24.