Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022 and received a 10-minute standing ovation. The audience, as well as Priscilla Presley, raved about the performance of star Austin Butler, who portrays the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley in the film. Butler co-stars with A-list celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jimmie Rodgers, Yola Quartey and Kelvin Harrison.
The film earned great reviews from critics and the singer's family members, including Lisa Marie Presley, grandaughter Riley Keough and Priscilla. Lisa Marie even called the film, "nothing short of spectacular.
"Austin channeled and embodied my father's heart and soul beautifully," Lisa Marie continued. "In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and finally done accurately and respectfully. If he doesn't get an Oscar for this, I will eat my own foot."
Though the Elvis star is not in the running for an Academy Award, he's earned Best Actor nominations from the Golden Globes, AACTA International Awards, Critics' Choice Movie Awards, Satellite Awards and the Hollywood Film Critics Association.
Clearly, Butler is sitting on the edge of stardom, but how exactly did he get here?
Who is Austin Butler?
The Anaheim, Cal. native was born on Aug. 17, 1991. He started his career on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel in the 2000s. He didn't have a series of his own, but he was heavily featured in several well-known TV shows, including Hannah Montana, iCarly, Zoey 101 and Wizards of Waverly Place. He went on to land a major role in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, playing Zippy Brewster for 41 episodes. In a similar vein, he acted alongside distant cousin Ashley Tisdale in High School Musical spin-off Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure.
Moving networks, Butler starred as Sebastian Kydd in a short-lived Sex in the City spin-off series, The Carrie Diaries. He also portrayed Wilke in the ABC Family series Switched at Birth.
Fast forward a few years, he starred alongside Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, portraying Tex Watson. That same year, 2019, Butler was cast as Elvis Presley in Warner Bros.' biographical film, beating out such lead actors as Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort. As expected, this role launched his career even further and he's been a trending Hollywood star ever since.
Additional film roles include those in The Dead Don't Die and The Intruders.
This is only the beginning for Butler. In Feb. 2021, he was cast as a lead in Master of the Air, which is a war drama miniseries. In March 2022, it was reported that he was cast to play Feyd-Rautha in the upcoming science fiction film Dune: Part Two.
In Dec. 2022, he reprised his role as Presley for a Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit that was a musical send-off for longtime cast member Cecily Strong.
For a while, the actor was in the spotlight due to his relationship with Vanessa Hudgens. The couple ultimately split up after nine years, and he's since been tied romantically to Cindy Crawford's daughter, girlfriend and frequent red carpet date Kaia Gerber.
Elvis Has Entered the Building
After being cast, Butler repeatedly stated that he researched a great amount to portray the King the best he could. Speaking with GQ, the actor stated, "Elvis is such a superhuman figure, so to me, it was the curiosity of finding out, who is he as a human? And delve into studying everything I could on him." Butler revealed that after the film wrapped, he was so exhausted that he experienced intense physical pain after the shoot.
He noted, "The next day I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital." The actor told GQ that his body began to shut down. He said he was required to convalesce for a week after the doctors had diagnosed him with a virus that can later trigger appendicitis.
Throughout the journey, Luhrmann has praised Butler's performance and connection with the biopic's subject, saying that they were alike in several ways. "Elvis was an intensely spiritual person, and I think Austin has a really spiritual quality to him," he told GQ. "He has a very sensitive and big inner life. He's very lovely on the outside, but you know there's deep thinking going on on the inside."
This story was originally published on June 2, 2022.