Austin Butler Claims 5-Month ‘Elvis’ Audition ‘Put Him Through the Wringer’

With just one day left until the motion picture about Elvis Presley‘s life debuts, Austin Butler revealed auditioning for Elvis was unlike any other he’d experienced thus far. The actor, who plays the King of Rock and Roll in the film, said the rigorous five-month audition process “put him through the wringer.” However, that was nothing compared to the stress Butler placed upon himself to do justice to not only the entertainer but his family including Lisa Marie Presley and her mother Priscilla.

Austin Butler talks 'Elvis' film on the set of 'The Kelly Clarkson Show.'
Austin Butler | Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal

Austin Butler immersed himself in all things Elvis Presley to deliver a chilling performance

Butler immersed himself in the life and music of Elvis Presley upon his casting as The King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.

Not only did Butler want to better understand Elvis’ personality, but he also needed to master his speech, mannerisms, and Presley’s singing style in order to avoid his interpretation of the role looking more like that of an impersonator.

Elvis director Baz Luhrmann was so impressed by the work Butler did to do justice to the role that he tweeted a 2019 camera test to show off the actor’s skills. The result of all his hard work is chilling.

In the film, Elvis’ early voice is sung exclusively by Butler.

However, as the singer ages, Butler’s voice is blended with tapes of midlife Elvis to give as similar a vocal tone as possible, a decision by Luhrmann.

Austin Butler says the audition process for ‘Elvis’ took five months

In an interview with Kelly Clarkson for The Kelly Clarkson Show, Butler broke down the rigorous five-month audition for Luhrmann.

He admitted the process was unlike anything he’s ever done before. Butler spoke of the harrowing final screen test when the director changed everything he had prepared.

“I sent Baz a video where I played the song ‘Unchained Melody,'” Butler explained.

The actor later flew to New York where he met Luhrmann and the two spoke for three hours. The director subsequently invited Butler to read for the Presley role.

Luhrmann then asked Butler to read again the following day plus sing him a couple of songs.

“We ended up doing that for five months,” the actor revealed. “It was unlike any audition process I had ever been through.”

“Then it came time for the screen test,” Butler said. “I prepared everything for the screen test and on the day, Baz changed everything. I was supposed to do a couple of scenes and he changed the scenes,” he explained.

Luhrmann also switched the songs Butler had painstakingly prepared for the screen test.

“He put me through the ringer but now I know it’s because he likes to be very spontaneous on set. I didn’t think I got the role, but a week later I woke up to Baz calling me,” he concluded.

Butler thought he had the role, however, Baz Luhrmann had other plans

Butler told Clarkson that when he received Luhrmann’s call, he wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Luhrmann was “very dramatic,” Butler said of their conversation.

“He sounded kinda downcast. He told me he wanted to be the first one to say ‘are you ready to fly Mr. Presley?’ It was the greatest phone call ever.”

Luhrmann’s comment is taken directly from the first trailer released for Elvis. In a titular scene between Col. Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, and Butler, the colonel asks Presley if he is ready to fly.

Presley’s response, “Yes I’m ready, ready to fly.”

Elvis shimmies into theaters on June 24.

The film will be broadcast on HBO Max 45 days after the debut of its theatrical run.

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