I think Austin Butler must frame the events in his life as BE and AE — Before Elvis and After Elvis. And look, I appreciate that he’s been working for decades and this was his big break. Even so, Austin has been pretty extra in his interviews, in whichever accent he was donning at the time. His approach was straight out of The Lady Gaga School of Method Acting & Oscar Campaigning™. But now it’s a new year, and Austin has a new prestige project to promote, Masters of the Air on Apple TV+, so he can put all the Elvis accent talk behind— What’s that now? He’s still talking about the accent? Oh for the love of Tupelo…
Austin Butler got caught in an Elvis Presley trap.
The Elvis actor revealed that he needed some professional help to get rid of the music legend’s accent before shooting his new TV show, Masters of the Air, premiering on Apple TV+ Jan. 26.
“I had a dialect coach just to help me not sound like Elvis,” Butler admitted in a Jan. 24 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “It was a whole thing.”
In fact, the Golden Globe winner had to put in more work than simply dropping the accent, considering he practiced method acting for three years to prepare for his titular role in the 2022 Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic.
“I was just trying to remember who I was,” Butler continued. “I was trying to remember what I liked to do. All I thought about was Elvis for three years.”
Butler credited his Elvis costar Tom Hanks with convincing him to dive head-first into playing Major Gale Cleven in Masters of the Air, a World War II drama series that also stars Callum Turner and Barry Keoghan.
“I was having dinner with Tom Hanks in Australia,” the 32-year-old recalled. “He was sort of joking, saying, ‘You’re gonna lose your mind when you finish this three years of your life focused on this one thing. You’re gonna have to find something else to jump right into afterward.”
Hanks, who’s a producer on Masters of the Air, already had the Apple TV+ show in the works.
“I started a week after,” the Dune: Part Two actor said. “I had a week off after Elvis. It was almost too fast.”
Butler’s struggle to shake off his Elvis character has drawn a lot of attention from fans, but the Carrie Diaries star doesn’t let the scrutiny get to him.
“If I was trying to sound like Elvis, I would sound very different right now,” he told the Los Angeles Times in January 2022. “I think it’s sort of amusing to me how much people want to focus on this one thing.”
“I think it’s sort of amusing to me how much people want to focus on this one thing.” Oh really, that’s how you want to play it, Mr. Butler? Ok then, at this point I need a chart, a graph, some kind of visual aid to assist in the timeline of his accent. Just one year ago Austin was denying he was still doing the accent, then walked it back when the rest of the world was like, “Dude, we have ears.” And now he’s saying that he engaged professional help to unlearn the accent in the one week he had off between finishing Elvis and starting Masters of the Air, which the interwebs tell me happened in 2021. Poor boy, I think he really is lost in his own narrative. And I find it hilarious that he’s still plowing full steam ahead with talking about his uber method acting. “I was just trying to remember who I was,” was particularly precious, especially since only a few months ago he was praising Tom Hardy for knowing how to drop into character during filming, instead of maintaining it all the time.
Last note: a shout out to the E! News reporter who, out of everything Academy Award nominee Austin Butler has been in, identified him as the “Carrie Diaries star.” That one had me chuckling, uh huh uh huh.
Photos credit: Lee Floyd / Avalon, JPI Studios / Avalon and Getty