Elvis Presley star Austin Butler went home in tears after heckling
Elvis Presley 'would have loved' new biopic film says Tom Jones
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Later tonight, Elvis Presley’s story is being told in the 2020 feature titled Elvis: The Man That Rocked the World on Channel 5 at 10pm. While this will take a more serious look at the King of Rock and Roll’s life, earlier this year a more dramatic version of events was delivered to cinemas. Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrman helmed Elvis, a musical movie retelling the King’s story with his signature directing flair. He employed American star Austin Butler to play the legendary singer, but things didn’t go perfectly for him during rehearsals.
Butler performed every one of Elvis’ tracks himself for the first half of the film. In the second half of the movie, when Elvis was older, Butler’s voice was blended with the real star’s singing.
During the recording of these tracks, however, he was purposefully put under extreme pressure by Luhrmann.
Butler joined Luhrmann at Nashville’s RCA Studio B to lay down some tracks during pre-production. This studio was where Elvis actually recorded hundreds of his own tracks in real life, so it was a momentous occasion for Austin to attend this studio and actually sing these songs for the movie.
When he opened his mouth to sing, however, Luhrmann started berating the star.
Butler said: “When I was on my first day in the recording studio, Baz wanted me to get as close to performing as possible. He had all the executives and everybody from RCA, who were back in the offices, he brought them into the recording studio.”
In order to get Butler ready for the kind of ravenous and overwhelming fame that Elvis endured, Luhrmann demanded that his guests criticise him while he sang.
Luhrmann told all the recording company executives: “I want you all to sit facing Austin.”
“He told them to heckle me,” Butler recalled.
So Austin began singing his heart out to not only his director but to some high-profile music and film industry executives, as well.
Austin Butler recalls preparing for Elvis biopic
Butler remembered: “So then they were making fun of me and stuff while I was singing.” The criticisms seemed to have quite the effect on the 30-year-old star.
“I went home in tears that night,” he confessed. “I really did.” (Via VMAN)
He noted that Luhrmann used this vicious technique for a reason, however.
Luhrmann did this to try and give Butler some insight into Elvis’ emotions for one particular emotionally-charged scene.
Butler said: “When we were filming this moment when Elvis first goes on stage and he’s getting heckled by the audience, I knew what that felt like.”
Butler shouldn’t have been completely surprised, however. He went on to reveal that this was something Leonardo DiCaprio had warned him about before filming began.
DiCaprio worked with Baz on both 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, and 2013’s The Great Gatsby – both of which he played the films’ protagonists.
The actor apparently told Butler: “Baz is gonna push you in ways you didn’t know somebody could. He’s gonna push you off balance and keep you off balance.”
Whatever trials Luhrmann put Butler through during filming must have worked. The actor received almost universal praise for his performance as Elvis, but most important of all, he received the blessing of Elvis’ family.
Lisa Marie Presley – Elvis’ only child – wrote a lengthy post on Instagram about the movie.
She said: “Austin Butler channelled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully,” she explained. “In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully. (If he doesn’t get an Oscar for this, I will eat my own foot, haha.)” (sic)
Elvis is available on Digital Download now.
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