Elvis left the building for the last time way back in 1977 but nobody knew where he went until three years ago when he heard Baz Lurhman was making a biopic about him and crawled up Austin Butler’s ass for one last chance at fame and fortune. And as we heard in Austin’s Golden Globes acceptance speech for Elvis, he’s still posted up in there, pulling Austin’s levers like Ratatouille but from the inside. And I get it. I really do. In the afterlife, once you’ve found a warm, comfy celebrity ass to haunt, why would you waste your good spectral energy floating around drive-by-night Las Vegas wedding chapels waiting for Jennifer Lopez to roll through with one of her exes? It’s simply nonsustainable for a ghost as famous, and let’s be real, as vain, as Elvis. And according to Austin’s voice coach, Elvis may never leave.
If you’ve heard Austin speak at any point in the past three years (and really, who was checking for him before that other than his foster mom Vanessa Hudgens who had a moral obligation to do so since she adopted him as a puppy) you might be surprised to learn that he hails from the swamps, not a big city like Memphis. And by “the swamps” I obviously mean the overgrown underpasses of Anaheim, California. Here’s Austin accepting the Golden Globe last week, in case you missed it.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 11, 2023
Don’t laugh. Do you know how hard he had to clench to keep Elvis from making him say “Thank you. Thank you, very much.“? According to ABC News AU, one of the specialists Austin worked with to embody Elvis, singing coach Irene Bartlett, wants us to leave that boy alone.
“When you’ve got an iconic voice like that it’s really difficult,” she said.
“It’s very easy to be an impersonator because what you do is literally copy the sounds and the problem with that for someone like Austin is that it would not be sustainable.”
She said actors needed to establish a genuine voice of their own, rather than copying that of others.
“The voice is basically muscular — we call our high-level singers vocal athletes — it’s muscular, so they’ve got to find the efficiency and authenticity in their own voice,” she said.
Irene says that the pandemic also played a role in Elvis’ reluctance to vacate Austin’s little Orange County bootie.
“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 time on,” she said.
Dr Bartlett gave an insight into Butler’s commitment to the role.
“You know, when he came into his singing lessons he was dressed in 50s-style gear,” she said.
“He was never going to be — and [director] Baz Luhrmann didn’t want him to be — an Elvis impersonator, that’s the last thing they wanted him to be.
“What they wanted was a true connection with the personality of Elvis and his story and that’s what Austin worked on.
“What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that’s him. It’s genuine, it’s not put on.”
Like Butler, Dr Bartlett wasn’t sure when, or if, he would be able to shake the accent completely.
I’m going to have to give this one to Austin. He can’t be blamed. Not only has he got Elvis all up in his colon, constantly marveling about how clean it is, but he was also surrounded by Australians for over a year! Not to mention, he was also working with Tom Hanks, who was doing whatever that accent was supposed to be, and probably even had to field all those calls from Chet Hanks in the midst of his Rude Boy Winter and Spring looking for updates on his parents’ COVID-19 diagnoses. I know Tom and Rita weren’t picking up! No wonder he’s still giving Madonna #goals. Let’s hope Elvis was Austin’s last biopic. He may be from Anaheim, but we don’t need Mickey Mouse jumping up there to muscle out Elvis so Austin can play Michael Jackson in the upcoming biopic. Let Chet take that one for the team.