Elvis Presley’s ‘animal spit’ inspired Austin Butler’s role

Earlier this year, Austin Butler was praised for his performance as Elvis Presley in the Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic Elvis. The film told the life story of the King of Rock and Roll, and to get his version of the King right, Austin explored every part of Elvis’ history that he could get his hands on. One story in particular sparked his imagination.

Austin recently spoke about dissecting some of Elvis’ songs to really get to know him. One of these tracks was Trouble, a 1958 blues track originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

This was a particularly turbulent time period for Elvis, as he recorded and performed the song just before being deployed to the US Army. While enlisted, he received the terrible news that his mother had died. This was a turning point in the star’s life, as he was very close to his mother and fell into a powerful state of grief. After the funeral, he reportedly locked himself upstairs and cried in pain for hours.

Austin described Elvis’s portrayal of Trouble as “fiery, exciting and animalistic”. He was particularly inspired by the Elvis stories that really broke loose as he performed the song.

Austin said, “There are stories of him spitting on the stage, and rolling on it, and completely giving what sounds like a punk-rock show.”

Austin noted, “What I loved is that you can read so many stories about Elvis performing on stage in that little period of time before he goes into the army and his mother dies, where he’s at the height of his primal, animalistic power.” . .”

At that specific moment, there were countless photos of Elvis being “animal” on stage, but not much video material. The only images of him acting were from TV shows, but they were a special case. Elvis’s performances on television shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show, were extremely tame, as his twirling dance moves were considered “tacky.”

Austin said, “He didn’t push it as hard as he would have wanted.” [performing] Live.”

Because of this, when Austin played Elvis singing Trouble in the 2022 movie, he expanded his performance.

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Austin said, “So it was fun to play Trouble and be at this pivotal point in the story, with real emotional significance behind it. It’s a moment where he rebels and is true to his own artistic and moral integrity.”

Elvis also sang Trouble during his 1968 Comeback Special, and Austin also used this video of the star as inspiration.

He said: “[The special] it became an influence because of the way I played it in the 1950s [scenes] because he’s got more guts and he makes a growl that became very influential to me.”

Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, said Austin deserves an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of her father. However, there is another movie version of Elvis Presley coming to the big screen in the next year or so.

Another version of Elvis’ life is being adapted for the big screen, but this time it will focus on Priscilla Presley, the King’s ex-wife. The source material comes from his 1985 memoir Elvis and Me. In the film, which will be directed by Sofia Coppola, Elvis will be played by Jacob Elordi.

Jacob is best known for appearing in Netflix’s Kissing Booth movies. And Priscilla recently opened up about the second version of her ex-husband to hit the big screen in as many years.

She said, “Yeah, you know, he’s a great actor, a great actor. I can only imagine him being a nervous wreck. Just like everyone else!”

The 77-year-old also praised Sofia, saying, “I love Sofia and I love her film work. I really think…I think she’ll be fine. I hope!”


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