At the age of 30, he has already become a Hollywood star and has worked with one of the directors who shaped his idol’s career, Baz Lurhmann. The director made DiCaprio a teen idol with his unorthodox version of Romeo and Juliet and, decades later, gave him the chance to play one of those prize roles in The Great Gatsby, an adaptation of Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. In his latest work, he has cast Austin Butler as Elvis himself. Butler sings the songs from the documentary film in his own voice. And he does it quite well.
“When I started the process, I set out to make my voice identical. That instilled fear. That lit the fire.
For a year before we started filming, I was doing voice training,” Austin Butler said of lending his voice to the songs of the young Elvis, while his middle age will be a mix of Butler and tapes of the singer.
Elvis took more than two years to make because of the pandemic. Tom Hanks became one of the first major stars to announce in March 2020 that they had contracted covid-19, during the production of Elvis.
Up to this point, the young actor had already been working in the industry for more than a decade. He had modelled, tried his hand at advertising and appeared as a supporting actor in a multitude of series and films. His first acting job was in the sitcom Ned’s School Survival Handbook. He later appeared in Hannah Montana, alongside Miley Cyrus. Or CS Miami or High School musical. Beyond teen series, in 2012, Butler became a high school hottie in The Carrie Diaries, the prequel to Sex and the City. For a Tarantino fan, who says he read the Pulp Fiction script in his spare time, success came when the director cast him in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And there we saw him on the big screen as Charles Manson’s right-hand man.
The great challenge of his career, which he has been working on for the last three years, has been Elvis. It required the physical effort of singing and dancing. To do it as the king of rock and also to play a character who represents the recent history of the United States. Baz Lurhmann didn’t want any imitations. “When I started preparing for the role I was determined that if I worked hard I could make my face look exactly like Elvis’, that my eyes would be the same and no one would know the difference. But I realised that this is a wax museum, not a performance,” said the actor in a deep, articulate voice at the press conference at the last Cannes Film Festival, his first as a star
Elvis’ arrives in Spanish cinemas on 24 June after its presentation at the last Cannes Film Festival out of competition, where the critics were not exactly full of praise. This is what tends to happen with Baz Luhrmann’s films, which never leave anyone indifferent
Dazzling for some, a mere author of aesthetic wrappings that conceal emptiness for others, the Australian prides himself on a particular style that plays the card of provocation and bombards the spectator with overwhelming visual delirium full of anachronisms.
Love is in the Air’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and, above all, ‘Moulin Rouge’, in which he revisited Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris to the rhythm of pop-rock tunes, have cemented Luhrmann’s prestige among lovers of pyrotechnic and excessive cinema.