Austin Butler spent so much time in character as the legendary Elvis Presley that by the time filming was over his body didn’t know how to react. “The next day I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to the hospital,” Austin told GQ. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis.”
During his hospitalization, Austin was diagnosed with a “virus that simulates appendicitis.” He spent a week in bed recovering.
The road to getting the Elvis biopic made has been a long one. Filming was supposed to begin in March 2020 in Australia, but Tom Hanks was diagnosed with COVID-19 just a few before production was expected to get underway. Filming was shut down for months. While Austin could have gone back to Los Angeles, he decided to stay in Australia and immerse himself even more in Elvis.
He found himself connecting to the “Burning Love” singer on an emotional level. “His mother passed away when he was 23, and my mom passed away when I was 23,” Austin revealed. “So when I learned that, it was one of those things where I got chills, and I just thought, Okay, I can connect to that.”
Austin’s performance got full approval from the Presley family. Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ former wife, called Austin’s performance “outstanding” in a statement she posted on social media. “Bravo to him… he knew he had big shoes to fill,” she added. Priscilla also accompanied Austin to the 2022 Met Gala.
Tom stars as Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, in the film. Additional cast includes Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla, Luke Bracey as Jerry Schilling, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as B.B. King, and more. Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 25 and be released in theaters on June 24.