Austin Butler Admits to Using Dialect Coach to Remove Elvis Presley Accent

Austin Butler revealed he hired a dialect coach to get rid of his Elvis Presley accent before shooting his new Apple TV+ series Masters of the Air.

By Leah Degrazia Jan 26, 2024 12:23 AMTags
Watch: Austin Butler Admits What He Did To Remove His Elvis Accent

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

Kaia Gerber and Austin Butler: Romance Rewind

"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." 

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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."

To revisit every time Butler's addressed the intensity of preparing for his Elvis role, keep reading. 

Don't Be Cruel

Before Elvis was released in June 2022, Austin Butler warned moviegoers that he couldn't exactly shake his transformation of Elvis Presley off. "At this point, I keep asking people, ‘Is this my voice?' because this feels like my real [voice]," he told Entertainment Tonight the same month. "It's one of those things where certain things trigger it." 

Mission Accomplished

When signing up for the Elvis role, Austin had one goal in mind. "When I began the process of this, I set out to make my voice identical to his," he told The AU Review in May 2022. "That was my goal, that if you heard a recording of him and heard a recording of me, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference."

Work in Progress

After Austin's publicist warned him about the conversation on social media surrounding his accent, the actor made it clear he was "getting rid" of it. It just won't happen overnight. "I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing," he said on BBC One's Graham Norton Show in February 2023. "One song took 40 takes."

Let Him Explain

Still not satisfied with Austin's explanation? He has another reason. "I guess after three years of doing everything that I could to focus on this one goal of trying to bring life to Elvis in this film, I think that there's certain muscular habits that must pop up," he told the Los Angeles Times in January 2022. "If I was trying to sound like Elvis, I would sound very different right now. I think it's sort of amusing to me how much people want to focus on this one thing."

Defending His Voice

After winning the 2023 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Film, the actor was asked about his accent again backstage. "I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time," he explained in the press room. "I had three years where [Elvis] was my only focus in life, so I'm sure there's just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way."

Support System

"What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that's him," Austin's voice coach Irene Bartlett told ABC's Gold Coast in January 2023. "It's genuine, it's not put on. I feel sorry people are saying that 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."

Unknown Future

Perhaps the secret to bidding farewell to the accent is earning a new acting role. "I know that I'm constantly changing," he told ELLE Australia in June 2022. "Check in with me in 20 years when I've played a lot of roles, who knows what I'll sound like!"

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App