Earlier this month Austin Butler won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, Elvis. But during his acceptance speech fans noticed he still had the southern drawl he used to play the King of Rock and Roll, and began to question why. He responded: “I don’t even think about it. I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I haven’t noticed ’cause I hear it a lot.” This isn’t the first time his voice has been called into question, however.
Baz, the director behind Elvis, spoke out about Austin’s voice shortly after the film’s first trailer was released.
He posted a clip of Austin singing on his Instagram account with the caption: “The response to Austin’s version of ‘Trouble’ has been tremendous but so many of you still ask: ‘Is it Austin singing?’ I feel I haven’t been clear enough in conveying that Austin sings all of the young Elvis in the movie.” He went on to ask his fans for “forgive him,” before pointing out just how much singing Austin really did on the set of the blockbuster movie, which earned $287 million at the box office.
“I thought you might find this very early camera (2019) test fascinating,” he went on. “As Austin and the guys are just jamming while we test our lenses.”
Baz heaped praise on Austin, saying: “Even before his two years of vocal studies I feel that Austin is channeling the vocal qualities of Elvis.” (sic)
He added: “Thank you @austinbutler for letting me share this early test to give the fans an insight into your journey.” The 31-year-old actor has since said of his voice seemingly getting stuck in Elvis mode that it comes down to his DNA being “linked” with the King of Rock and Roll.
Austin said: “I think, I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time, and I had three years where [playing Elvis] was my only focus in life, so I’m sure that there’s just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way.”
Austin previously said he “lost himself” after the filming for Elvis came to an end.
He admitted: “That was the voice I spoke in for two years. It was so habitual. You get done and you kinda don’t remember what your natural voice is. When I began the process, I set out to get my voice to be identical. That instils fear. So that got the fire burning.” He added: “For a year before we started shooting, I was doing voice coaching I watched as much as I could, over and over.”
The Golden Globe-winning actor said he felt a “responsibility” to Elvis, as well as his ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.
Baz later went into detail about how the sound of Elvis’ singing came to life in the feature film.
Baz revealed that all of the songs in the first half of Elvis were performed wholly by Austin.
Towards the end of the film, as Elvis hit maturity and suffered a brutal decline, Austin continued singing every word of the star’s songs, but there was a key difference in the edit.
The final songs of Elvis’ career were then blended with both the King’s voice and Austin’s, to create the best of both worlds.
Elvis is available to rent on digital now.