Austin Butler Didn't See His Family for 3 Years While Filming Elvis

By Paige Strout Jun 15, 2022 9:18 PMTags

Austin Butler's voice isn't the only thing that changed when he took on the role of rock and roll icon Elvis Presley.

As it turns out, his personal life took a hit while filming the Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic Elvis. "I didn't see my family for—it turned out to be three years," Butler said in an exclusive interview with E! News' Daily Pop. "I didn't see any one of my friends for that entire time. So, it was like the rest of my life, suddenly, I compartmentalized."

Balancing real life with the "obsession of a role" is something Butler said he's still trying to tackle, along with not letting people's opinion of the film get to him.

"There's this quality where you're on the train, and you have people saying great things about you, you have people saying awful things about you," the 30-year-old shared. "And for me, every day, it's this thing of going, ‘Okay, what is reality?' It's just staying grateful and really just kind of not allowing those things to make me feel like they are me."

Stars Playing Real People

And while his personal relationships suffered, as did his physical health—he was hospitalized after production—those were hardly the biggest hurdles that came with playing Presley. "It was stripping away the icon, stripping away the caricature and getting down to his humanity," Butler, who dates Kaia Gerber, said. "And then somehow balancing all those specific things with the fact that it's gotta come from his soul, at the end of the day."

Thankfully, Butler's hard work paid off, as his performance wowed Presley's family, especially daughter Lisa Marie Presley, according to director Luhrmann.

Scott Garfitt/Shutterstock

"To have Lisa Marie—who's gone through so much—when she said, 'I saw the film for the first time. I didn't realize it was actually Austin singing in the first part,'" Luhrmann said on Daily Pop. "Austin caught his humanity, his kindness. I felt so moved by that."

And to think, another actor could have taken on the film's starring role if Luhrmann hadn't gotten a call from a Hollywood acting legend.

"Denel Washington, who I don't know, rings me and said, ‘I've been on stage with this actor," Luhrmann revealed. "'You're gonna not believe how hard he works.'"

As for how Butler is handling the film's Oscar buzz? Butler said, "I'm just taking it one day at a time."

Elvis premieres in theaters Friday, June 24.