Austin Butler ate a ‘terrible’ amount of food to play Elvis Presley
The life story of Elvis Presley was told in biopic form last year in the Baz Luhrmann film Elvis. Austin Butler played the King of Rock and Roll and showed just how talented and misunderstood the incredible performer was, but the star had some down moments. During the last years of Elvis’s life, in the late 1970s, he gained a lot of weight and became dependent on prescription drugs. To portray this, Austin put on a lot of weight.
Austin launched into the role of Elvis for the film. In addition to learning to sing and dance, he also picked up the star’s distinctive accent, something he still can’t shake to this day. But it was the weight gain that left him feeling terrible. Speaking in a new interview, he recalled how he decided to put on weight for the final scenes of the movie.
He said Variety: “I heard that when Ryan Gosling was going to do [the 2009 movie] The Lovely Bones, had cooked in the Häagen-Dazs microwave [ice cream] and I would drink it.”
Incidentally, Gosling gained too much weight for the role (reportedly over 60 pounds) and was subsequently fired from The Lovely Bones by its director, Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame). Gosling was replaced by Mark Wahlberg.
“So I started doing that,” Austin continued, before adding that he would also buy a large number of donuts to gorge himself on.
“One day we would be in 1974,” said the 31-year-old actor. “And the next day we’d be in 1956. So you have to be able to switch back and forth, vocally and physically.”
Austin received some criticism after the film’s release, as he continued to speak with Elvis’ intonation and accent on red carpets and social events. Fans worried that he might not have been able to stop sounding like The King.
He recently confirmed, “I’m getting rid of the accent, but I’ve probably damaged my vocal cords from singing so much.”
A big part of Austin’s struggle was learning to sing like the star. He told Graham Norton that one song in particular “took 40 takes”, leaving his vocal chords feeling delicate.
Also, Austin filmed Elvis with Baz for years. As a result, he felt alone and isolated from the rest of his family.
Austin said: “During Elvis, I didn’t see my family for about three years. I was in New York preparing with Baz and then I went to Australia. I had months where I didn’t talk to anyone, and when I did, the only thing I I thought it was Elvis.”
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