Austin Butler had a wobble on the set of Elvis because he was terrified of ruining the movie.
The American actor is about to become a household name after taking the lead role in Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic on the King of Rock and Roll.
Although he’s not new to acting, having begun his career as a child, this is his biggest gig to date – and he was worried he wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
“I was walking out in the famous black leather outfit and I was terrified,” the 30-year-old told NME of the scene recreating Elvis’ 1968 comeback show. “I’d done so much work, but in that moment I thought, ‘If this doesn’t go well the whole film could fall apart and my career’s over. It’s make or break.’
“Then I realised, this is a moment that was make or break for Elvis too. Everything was on the line for him.”
His path to landing the coveted part was not a conventional one. After sending in a tape of himself singing Unchained Melody, a stripped-back version accompanied by a piano, Austin flew out to New York to meet with the Moulin Rouge! filmmaker.
“I spoke to Baz for about three hours. He asked me to come back the next day and read the script with him,” he remembered. “So I came in and read some scenes, then he asked me to come back the next day and sing a couple of songs. We did that day after day for about five months and I didn’t know if I had the job yet.”
Elvis, which also stars Tom Hanks, is released in cinemas on Friday.