Austin Butler worked hard to portray Elvis Presley authentically in Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis.
In a clip for this week’s episode of the Variety Awards Circuit podcast, the Oscar-nominated actor explained the lengths he went to creating the character.
Butler, 31, confessed that he had to gain weight to play the older version of Presley in the historical film, which follows the famed music icon’s rise to fame through several periods of his career.
“I’ve heard Ryan Gosling ate Häagen-Dazs while filming The Lovely Bones. I started doing that,” he explained.
He admits to using a body suit to play Elvis Presley in the film’s parts, but he also said he did everything he could to prepare for them.
“I’d go purchase two dozen doughnuts and eat them all. At this moment, I began to gain weight significantly. It’s fun for about a week, then you feel terrible about yourself,” he continued.
“But, we wanted to begin shooting in chronological sequence. It was quickly dropped, particularly with COVID. It was simply impossible.”
During a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival in May, he claimed that he put his “life on hold for two years” to learn “everything” about Presley while the movie filming and release date were delayed due to the COVID pandemic.
“I just fell into an obsessional rabbit hole. I spent two years studying him, trying to grasp his humanity as best I could, and I separated his life into periods where I could hear the contrasts in how his voice and movement changed through time,” he added.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in January, he said the experience was terrifying. “And I was just following my terror,” he acknowledged.
He admits to collecting Presley’s voice, which he would “listen to every day – his laugh, different songs” for “hours” throughout the performance.
“And then, once I was allowed to leave the flat, I would usually wake up every day around 3 or 4 a.m. with this horror,” Butler told Jimmy Kimmel.