We had the chance to meet Austin Butler at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, where “Elvis” was presented out of competition. The opportunity to discuss his exceptional performance in the biopic of Baz Luhrmann, for which the actor “became” the King.
Elvis : a gigantic show by Baz Luhrmann
After Gatsby the magnificentBaz Luhrmann tackles the dark side of another American myth with Elvis. Presented out of competition at 75and Cannes Film Festival, the feature film stands out as a mind-boggling biopicfilled with monstrous musical sequences where the frenetic editing and staging completely carry the spectator away (discover our review).
The film manages to evoke all the periods of the life of the King, from his childhood marked by poverty to his decisive encounter with Priscilla, played by Olivia DeJonge. He mainly focuses on his conflicted relationship with Colonel Tom Parker, his controversial manager played by Tom Hanks.
If his partners are all excellent, Elvis has everything to make its main actor a star. After a stint with Jim Jarmusch (The Dead Don’t Die) and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Austin Butler finally finds his first big role in the cinema. And the young actor brilliantly takes up a particularly difficult challenge : to become one of the greatest icons of contemporary music, navigating between its excessiveness and its decadence, without forgetting to transcribe its magnetism and its energy on stage.
Austin Butler’s incredible transformation
We had the chance to meet Austin Butler in Cannes the day after the presentation of the feature film on the Croisette in a feverish atmosphere. The opportunity to ask him how he managed to find the unique gesture and voice ofElvis Presley. With a smile on his lips, the actor explained to us:
I spent countless hours listening to it, watching it, experimenting and trying things out.
About the voice, the actor adds:
I listened to his interviews over and over. Then I would record my voice and listen back, to see where my voice was different. He also changed a lot over the years, so we had to reconstruct his life and understand his transitions, his evolution.
Austin Butler has also been particularly marked by two periods of the life ofElvis, the first being his childhood in Mississippi and Tennessee where he discovered the blues. About the second, which he finds “fascinating”, he says:
This is the tragic part of his life, towards the end. For me to explore that, and the heartbreaking aspect of this man who was a rebel in his youth and created some of the greatest songs of all time, coming to a point where he feels like he’ll be forgotten after his death. I find that so tragic. There was no roadmap for Elvis, he was the first to enjoy such a level of fame. Bless him. What he went through was violent.
Elvis is to be discovered in cinemas from June 22, 2022.