Showing his commitment. Austin Butler revealed the unique way he tried to gain weight to play the late Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann‘s 2022 biopic.
The actor, 31, noted in a clip from the “Variety Awards Circuit” podcast, which was posted on Thursday, February 16, that he needed to change his appearance to portray the older version of Presley in the film.
“I heard that Ryan Gosling, when he was going to do The Lovely Bones, had microwaved Häagen-Dazs and would drink it. So, I started doing that,” he explained in the video. “I would go get two dozen doughnuts and eat them all. I really started to pack on some pounds. It’s fun for a week or so, and then you feel awful with yourself.”
Butler continued: “But we were planning on shooting chronologically in the beginning. That quickly went out the window, then especially with COVID. It was just impossible.”
The Shannara Chronicles alum, who ultimately wore a body suit for certain scenes, has frequently opened up about the work he put into the role. His performance earned him the 2023 Golden Globe for Actor in a Drama Motion Picture, along with nominations at the 2023 Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“I didn’t do anything else for two years [apart from working on Elvis], that’s such a large chunk of life. I’m not surprised that it clicks in,” Butler detailed to Elle Australia in June 2022. “Because I’m a shy person, and when I know that there’s bits of Elvis that I’d have to click into in order to go out on stage and be in front of a ton of people, being surrounded by his name everywhere, there’s triggers. You spend so much time obsessing about one thing, and it really is like muscular habits, your mouth can change.”
The California native also raised eyebrows for his speaking voice — which seemingly changed after he played the King of Rock and Roll. Butler’s vocal coach Irene Bartlett defended him after fans started to question the shift.
“Because of COVID shutdowns, he was working on it all the time and it’s difficult to switch off something you’ve spent so much focus [and] time on,” she told ABC’s Gold Coast in January. “I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board. I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”
The Carrie Diaries alum, for his part, denied that his voice became similar to Presley’s after starring in Elvis.
“I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I must because I hear it a lot,” he told reporters at the Golden Globes last month. “I had three years where that was my only focus. So, I’m sure there’s pieces of him in my DNA and I’ll always be linked.”