Austin Butler didn’t see his family for three years while working on ‘Elvis’.
The 31-year-old actor played the King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic and said he was so committed to the part that he went years without seeing his loved ones with filming taking place in Australia.
In conversation with Janelle Monae for Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ series, Austin recalled: “During ‘Elvis’, I didn’t see my family for about three years. I was prepping with Baz, and then I went to Australia.
“I had months where I wouldn’t talk to anybody. And when I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis. I was speaking in his voice the whole time.”
Austin explained how the coronavirus pandemic altered the production schedule and meant that he and Luhrmann had to find “subtle ways” to represent the music icon ageing.
He said: “Initially, Baz said we could film it in sequence.’Well, OK, I can take a break and gain the weight.’ But with Covid, the whole schedule got turned upside down.
“We ended up working a lot with finding subtle ways that you can age. Elvis ended up experiencing a lot of pain in his knees, in his back, and I felt that completely.”
Butler explained how he found it daunting to work with Baz – who has directed movies such as ‘Moulin Rouge!’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ – and likened the filmmaker to a “jazz musician”.
The ‘Shannara Chronicles’ star said: “He’s the closest thing to a jazz musician that I’ve seen in a director. He does so much homework. And then you show up and he might say, ‘I rewrote this scene last night’ – that you’ve been working on for a year and a half. It’s terrifying in the beginning.”