At The Hollywood Reporter’s Actor Roundtable discussion published recently, Austin Butler spoke up about the painful experience of losing his mother, Lori, in his early twenties.
The former Disney Channel actor, 31, admitted that he began filming a movie shortly after his mother’s death from cancer, adding that he would ‘tear up every night.’
The Elvis actor, nominated for a Golden Globe for his depiction of the King of Rock n’ Roll, also thanked his mother for supporting his profession, saying, ‘I owe her everything.’
Austin was joined at the roundtable chat by other brilliant performers such as Brendan Fraser and Colin Farrell, who were nominated for Golden Globes.
The Carrie Diaries star stated that he first began acting when he stumbled into extra work,’ adding that he was a shy kid.’
He added that his mother, Lori, recognized his talent for performing early on. ‘My mother saw that in me, and I owe her everything since she resigned from her job to drive me to auditions and acting classes. Then I got to work.’
Nevertheless, after gaining more prominent roles, his mother died in 2014 from cancer. ‘After my mother died, I’d never felt pain like that before, and I began to doubt,’ Austin revealed during the interview.
After spending time in hospitals and around doctors, the actor remarked that he began to question if acting was an “honorable job.”
Austin stated that after his mother died, he moved to New Zealand to film a show that was canceled after two seasons. He revealed that, while viewers appreciated the show and he had ‘fun’ shooting it, ‘I’d go home and cry every night.’
‘I was dealing with loss, but there was also this sensation that I wasn’t matched with something that felt truly rewarding,’ he explained, adding that he was approximately 24 years old at the time and was ready to take a vacation from acting.
‘I thought, ‘I’ve got a small bit of money in the bank. I’ll take some time off.’ Eventually, I began to plunge deeper and deeper into depression. It took around six or eight months.’
He did, however, eventually send in an audition tape for the Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh, which also starred Denzel Washington. After getting cast, Austin described it as “the moment that altered my career.”
Austin has previously thanked and paid tribute to his mother, most recently as the host of Saturday Night Live in December.
During his introductory speech, the former Nickelodeon star admitted to the audience that he had a “crippling shyness” as a child but that when he was with his mother, “I’d just do anything to make her laugh,” including a Gollum impression.
‘But, truly, being ridiculous with her got me out of my shell and into acting.’
Appearing on SNL reminded the actor of his mother, and he imagined ‘how happy she’d be of her son, who used to be unable to order meals for himself at a restaurant and is now standing on this platform.’
To end his monologue, Austin dedicated each silly voice’ or ‘funny face’ he performed on the show to his late mother, adding passionately, ‘That’s for you, mum.’
The actor will be accompanied by his sister, Ashley when he attends the 80th Golden Globe Awards later on Tuesday. Austin recently told Entertainment Tonight,’ she’s my one and only sister, so it’ll be good to be around her.’
Although his fiancée and supermodel Kaia Gerber will not be with him at the award event, the couple was recently pictured together on a New Year’s Eve break to Mexico with her family.
For his depiction as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic, the outstanding actor was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama. The critically praised film received two further Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Director.
Austin received the Breakout Performance Award for his role as Elvis Presley at the 34th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival earlier this month. He was also seen with Lisa Marie Presley at a pre-Golden Globes event on Sunday.
The 2023 Golden Globes award ceremony will be broadcast live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles later Tuesday evening.