Austin Butler is the new Elvis. The actor, who got his start working on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows like Hannah Montana and Zoey 101, will play the King of Rock and Roll in an upcoming biopic from Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann. Tom Hanks will play Elvis’s controlling manager Colonel Tom Parker in the movie, which will focus on the singer’s rise to fame. Production will begin in early 2020.
Butler has big shoes to fill in taking on a role as one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century. Will he be able to hack it? Luhrmann certainly seems to think so, saying that the actor has the ability to “embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”
Fans will have to judge for themselves. In the meantime, here are five things to know about Austin Butler.
He was discovered at the county fair
A chance encounter put Butler on a path to a career as an actor. When he was 13, a representative from a background acting management company approached him at the Orange County Fair. After that, the Southern California native started taking acting classes, and before long, he’d found work on shows like Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Hannah Montana, and iCarly. In 2007, he landed a recurring role as the love interest of Jamie Lynn Spears’s character on Zoey 101.
Since then, he’s appeared in ABC Family’s Switched at Birth as one of the lead character’s best friends and had a prominent role in the Sex and the City prequel series The Carrie Diaries.
He starred in MTV’s ‘The Shannara Chronicles’
One Butler’s biggest roles to date was on MTV’s fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles. He played Wil Ohmsford, a half-human, half-elf who must save his world from demons. The show lasted two seasons before it was canceled in 2018.
He starred on Broadway opposite Denzel Washington
Butler hasn’t just worked on TV and in film. In 2018, he also appeared with Denzel Washington, Colm Meaney, and David Morse in a critically acclaimed revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. In fact, it was his work on Broadway that helped Butler land the part of Elvis.
“I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures,” Luhrmann said.
He plays a Manson Family member in Quentin Tarantino’s new movie
While it will be some time before audiences get a look at Butler as Elvis, they will be able to see him on the big screen in another role in the near future. The 27-year-old actor plays Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which opens July 26.
He’s been dating Vanessa Hudgens since 2011
Butler has been in a relationship with actress Vanessa Hudgens since 2011. The pair met on the set of High School Musical in 2005, but didn’t start dating until several years later.
When word got out that Butler had been cast as the “Hound Dog” singer, she was understandably thrilled, writing on Instagram, “I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F*CKING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT 😍😍😍😍😍😍 SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!”
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