In 2019, Austin Butler landed the role of Elvis. The day filming wrapped, he was rushed to ER.

For Austin Butler, playing the King of Rock 'n' Roll was "the greatest ride" of his life. 

The 31-year-old, who played Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic, has gone on to win a Golden Globe and BAFTA, as well as an Oscar nomination for his celebrated performance. 

But the day filming wrapped in March last year, the actor was rushed to the ER. 

"I didn’t get sick the entire time I filmed, but the day that I finished, I ended up in the emergency room," Butler told People on the SAG Awards red carpet this week. 

"I spent a week in bed, and then I went to this other job."

Watch Baz Luhrmann's Elvis official trailer. Post continues below.

The actor previously told British GQ he had given himself to the role so much that he "woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain" and was "rushed to hospital".

The Carrie Diaries star was later diagnosed with a virus that simulates appendicitis.

"My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis," he told the publication. 


Butler also lot his voice during filming, after performing Elvis' version of 'Never Been to Spain'.

"We did so many takes, and at a certain point, my voice just, I just lost my voice," he told People. 

"Then I went on vocal rest for a couple of days, and I was able to come back."

Here's everything we know about Austin Butler's journey to becoming Elvis and his life in the spotlight. 

How Austin Butler landed his Elvis role.

Recalling how he came to land the role on the Hollywood Reporter’s Actors Roundtable last year, Butler said he was looking at Christmas lights with his "friend" - who he later admitted with his girlfriend at the time, Vanessa Hudgens - when an Elvis Christmas song came over the radio. 

"I was singing along and my friend looked over at me and said, 'You gotta play Elvis.'"

"I said, 'That's such a long shot... and then a couple of weeks later I was playing the piano and I never really sang for any of my friends or anything. My same friend was there, and I was playing the piano and she said, 'I'm serious, you've got to figure out how you can get the rights to a script and like, write something."

That next month, he got a call telling him Luhrmann was working on the biopic, Hudgens recalled on Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2019. 

Luhrmann was in the middle of casting when he later received a phone call from none other than actor Denzel Washington.

Luhrmann didn't know Washington, but knew his standing in Hollywood. 


It was Washington who recommended Austin Butler for the role. The pair had worked together in 2018 on a Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

"I received this videotape of this young man (Austin Butler) in a flood of tears playing 'Unchained Melody,' and I thought, 'Wow, what is that? How is that happening?' And then I got a call from Denzel Washington, who gave me a cold call. I did not know Denzel. And he said, 'I've just worked with this guy on stage. I've never seen a work ethic like it'."

It was from that moment that Luhrmann thought he had found his Elvis, with Bulter landing the role in July 2019.

Why everyone is confused by Austin Butler's voice.

Back in January, Austin Butler won Best Actor in a Drama Film at the Golden Globes for his celebrated performance as Elvis in the Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, giving special thanks to Baz and to Elvis in his speech: “You were an icon and a rebel and I love you so much.”

... But it wasn't the content of his acceptance speech that has people talking. It's his accent.

You see, Butler grew up in California – granting him a cool-dude-chill-surfer-drawl. But the second he started playing Elvis, he adopted the singer's accent – a deep, velvety southern twang. And even though it's been a year since filming wrapped, Butler hasn't been able to drop the drawl.

He waltzed up to the Golden Globes stage and, if you closed your eyes, you'd be forgiven for thinking Elvis himself was accepting the award. 


Austin Butler accepts his #GoldenGlobes Award in the 'Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama' Category for his performance in 'ELVIS'. pic.twitter.com/YoBm9h9aSw

— Austin Butler News (@AButlerNews) January 11, 2023

What followed was a flurry of memes and tweets both laughing at and applauding Butler for his commitment to the role. 

Voice coach Irene Bartlett, who was hired to work with Butler in 2019, later defended his accent, telling the ABC "what you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that's him. It's genuine, it's not put on".

"It’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board," she told the publication. 

"I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever."

Austin Butler's early career.

Born in 1991 in California, Butler got into acting from a young age. He had a string of roles in Disney and Nickelodeon productions like Aliens in the Attic, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, Zoey 101 and a few appearances on Wizards of Waverly Place.

One of his biggest roles was in The Carrie Diaries - a teenage version of Sex and the City.

Acting full time, Butler was homeschooled, and said he was a quiet and introverted child growing up. 

"I didn't really have a passion for anything that included other people at that time. I wouldn't go play sports. I wouldn’t do things with other kids. I never had a real prom. But I had prom in a TV show. I printed out the Pulp Fiction script when I was 12, and I'd read it to my mum in the car - that was my dream," he said to GQ.

Often playing the 'teen heartthrob', in his early adult years Butler hoped to make the leap "into something more serious".

"I don't want to be just a guy who walks in slo-mo through a door," he said. 


 The change of direction also coincided with his mother Lori's death from cancer in 2014.

Austin Butler working with Ashley Tisdale in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, and also playing Sebastian in The Carrie Diaries. Image: Disney/The CW. 

Austin Butler's relationships.

During this time, Butler was also best known for his relationship with fellow actor Vanessa Hudgens.


Reports suggest the pair first crossed paths back in 2005 on the set of High School Musical. At the time, Hudgens was dating Zac Efron. But when they split in 2010, it left room for Hudgens and Butler to form a relationship early the following year.

When asked about his relationship with Hudgens and what he loved most about her, Butler told Cosmopolitan:

"[I always wanted] someone who is selfless in nature and cares about others - that's such a huge thing for me. How someone treats a waiter or doorman can tell you so much about a person. And I'm attracted to someone who is a hard worker and is passionate about what they do."

And for the next few years, the couple was full of warm words to say about one another.

"Yesterday was the love of my life's birthday," she wrote on Instagram back in 2014. "Happy birthday to the man with the kindest heart, beautiful soul, crazy talent and best looks I've ever seen. He never stops inspiring me in every aspect of life and always lifts those around him up higher. I thank god so greatly for blessing the world 23 years ago by creating Austin Butler."

Austin Butler with Vanessa Hudgens. Image: Getty. But in early 2020, it was announced that the couple had split after nine years together. 


When asked about the breakup in his profile interview with GQ, Butler said: "Life is full of changes, and you've got to find a way to constantly be evolving and growing."

He did however acknowledge it was Hudgens who had encouraged him to play the role of Elvis in the first place. When he and Hudgens were still dating and in the car singing 'Blue Christmas' it was Hudgens who said he should go for the role.

In August 2021, Butler was seen out with Lily-Rose Depp, but by December that year, was officially dating model Kaia Gerber, the daughter of Cindy Crawford. They have since attended multiple red carpet events together, including most recently the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival. 

Austin Butler and Kaia Gerber at the Met Gala 2022. Image: Getty. 


Speaking of the Cannes Film Festival, it was a major success for Butler and his fellow Elvis co-stars, with the film receiving a 12-minute standing ovation. 

Butler has credited Denzel Washington with much of his success. 

"There's that thing where you meet your heroes, and you want to be their best friend. He started giving me acting advice and he really took me under his wing. He'd start telling me thoughts about the scene, and suddenly I've got Denzel almost as an acting coach," he said


Preparing for the role of Elvis was full on, Butler said.

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The young actor went to Graceland and met Elvis's ex-wife Priscilla Presley. The family didn't have anything to do with the film but have thrown their support and praise behind it.

"She looked like an angel. I walked down the hall with Baz afterwards with tears in my eyes," Butler said.

But it was the connection between himself and Elvis that stuck with him.

"His mother passed away when he was 23, and my mum passed away when I was 23. 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."

Butler said the positive response from the late Lisa Marie Presley when she watched the final film also "brought him to tears".

Before her death earlier this year, Lisa Marie said on an Instagram live video: "Austin Butler channelled and embodied my father's heart and soul beautifully. In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully. You can feel and witness Baz's pure love, care, and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever."

As Butler said: "I want everybody to love the film, obviously, but the pressure I have really felt is doing justice to Elvis. Humanising him. Adding to his legacy and maybe, hopefully, even reclaiming some of his legacy."


Austin Butler as Elvis. Image: Getty/Warner Bros. Pictures. 

This article was originally published on January 11, 2023 and was updated on March 1, 2023.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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