Austin Butler Was a Teen Heartthrob Before ‘Elvis’ Casting: Here’s Why He Looks So Familiar

Austin Butler stunned fans with what appears to be a standout performance as Elvis Presley in the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, a biopic that explores the life of the King of Rock and Roll. The movie details the entertainer’s early days in the industry through to his untimely death at the age of 42. However, while Butler may be a new talent to many of Presley’s longtime fans, if you were a child of the millennium, he might have been a pinup on your wall. Here’s why former teen heartthrob Austin Butler looks so familiar.

Austin Butler on the red carpet for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Austin Butler | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Austin Butler was a millenium teen heartthrob

In typical traditional Hollywood casting fashion, Butler was spotted at the Orange County Fair in California at 13. Soon after he booked a small role in the television series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.

Just two short years later, Butler scored a vital role on the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana where he played Miley Cyrus’ love interest, Derrick Hanson, in a season 2 episode titled “My Best Friend’s Boyfriend.” In the episode, Miley called Derrick the worst date of her life after jumping into her lap during a frightening movie scene.

Butler also played the role of Jake Krandall, the school heartthrob who couldn’t sing, in iCarly‘s “i Like Jake” episode.

After the success of his appearance, Butler began booking roles on both Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel.

He played James Garrett, the love interest of Zoey (Jamie Lyn Spears) in Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101. He also portrayed Lance in the Cartoon Network series Out of Jimmy’s Head.

Butler also appeared in the film Aliens in the Attic with High School Musical‘s Ashley Tisdale, Ruby and the Rockits, and the television film Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

The actor’s career continued to skyrocket as he segued from teen television series’ to feature films and Broadway.

Austin Butler dated the most popular girl from ‘High School Musical’ Vanessa Hudgens

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens pose together on the red carpet.
Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens | Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Butler’s longest relationship was with former High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens.

They met on the set of the feature film in 2006. However, they didn’t enter into a serious relationship until 2011

In an deleted Instagram post dated Aug. 2014, Hudgens wished Butler a Happy Birthday, making them social media official.

Elle reported Hudgens had the following to say about her beau at the time.

“Yesterday was the love of my life’s birthday. Happy birthday to the man with the kindest heart, beautiful soul, crazy talent and best looks I’ve ever seen. He never stops inspiring me in every aspect of life and always lifts those around him up higher. I thank God so greatly for blessing the world 23 years ago by creating Austin Butler.”

In Jan. 2020, the couple split after nine years together.

The actor was cast as Elvis Presley in 2019

Austin Butler wears a blue suit at a photocall.
Austin Butler | Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Famed director Baz Luhrmann cast Butler as Elvis Presley in his biopic Elvis in 2019.

The actor plays the entertainer as he grows from dirt poor singer to global icon, seen through the his complex relationship with manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). A trailer for the film made its debut in Feb. 2021.

Butler filmed a test for Luhrmann and beat out hot, young actors Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles for the titular role.

Elvis hits theaters on June 24.

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