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He’s Playing Elvis Presley. But Who Is Austin Butler?


He sent the single-take recording to Luhrmann. Inside days, Butler, who lives in Los Angeles, had been summoned to the director’s home in Recent York. “From the moment he walked in, he was soulful, spiritual, kind — just sensible,” Luhrmann said.

Butler still didn’t quite have the part. That modified after Luhrmann asked him to perform renditions of Elvis hits like “Suspicious Minds,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” They read lines from the script, too. “He was also doing such an ideal Southern accent,” Luhrmann said. “I remember asking one in every of my guys, ‘Where in Texas does he come from?’ And I used to be told, ‘Oh, no — he’s from Anaheim.”

Butler, who still speaks with an Elvis twang, grew up near Disneyland. His father, David, works in business real estate, and his mother, Lori, ran a day care from their home. While his older sister, Ashley, was a well-liked cheerleader, Butler was a homebody, teaching himself to play guitar and piano; skateboarding on a makeshift ramp within the backyard; and obsessing over James Dean and Marlon Brando flicks on Turner Classic Movies. “He just had such an incredible, animalistic spontaneity, and I used to be enraptured and fascinated,” Butler said of Dean.

Butler began taking acting lessons when he was in his early teens. “I remember printing out the ‘Pulp Fiction’ script after I was 12 and reading it to my mom as she drove me to class,” he said, laughing.

By 20, Butler had put together an honest children’s television résumé (“Zoey 101,” “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure”) and was headed toward young-adult roles (“The Carrie Diaries,” “Arrow”). By 24, Butler had appeared in a few indie movies. “But it surely was a really slow burn,” he said.

His break got here in 2018, when his performance within the Broadway revival of “The Iceman Cometh” caught the eye of critics — and the production’s star, Denzel Washington, who urged the William Morris Agency to get behind Butler. Around the identical time, Butler landed a small but notable role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” He played the Charles Manson follower Tex Watson.

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