Again in early June, when he was on the town doing press for his two summer season films — Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — Austin Butler hinted at another excuse for his time in New York.
“Initially I was coming out to meet with a director, a hero of mine,” he mentioned then, realizing he was being coy. “And so we’ve been sort of working together for the last month. I have signed an NDA, so I can’t talk about it at all, but yeah.”
It’s commonplace for an actor to say a venture that’s within the works that they’ll’t fairly focus on but, nevertheless it’s much less typical when the position is likely one of the most coveted and talked-about components floating round.
The information got here final week that Butler beat out nearly each different hotshot younger face in Hollywood to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming, yet-to-be-titled movie about The King, solidifying him as correct A-list in ready.
The 27-year-old already seems the a part of main man. Wearing head-to-toe The Row, he comes full with movie-star hair and the flexibility to make you’re feeling like you’ve got his utmost consideration when chatting with him. In different phrases, he’s charming, he’s good-looking and, in keeping with the Tarantinos and Luhrmanns of the world, he certain can act.
Butler, who grew up in Anaheim, Calif. — “home of Jeff Buckley and Disneyland” — grew to become bicoastal final yr when he and longtime girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens purchased a spot in Williamsburg, when he made his Broadway debut in “The Iceman Cometh.”
Whereas in manufacturing with the present, he booked each the Jarmusch and Tarantino jobs, inside per week of each other. In “The Dead Don’t Die,” which got here out final month, he has a comparatively smaller position — “I don’t want to tout this like I’m in this huge role or anything” — however the pleasure got here from desirous to work with Jarmusch, in addition to the forged of Invoice Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny.
With Tarantino, whose movie bows this Friday, the audition course of was “one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had,” he mentioned. He despatched a tape not realizing what position he was auditioning for, earlier than flying to L.A. on the Sunday evening instantly following a efficiency of “Iceman” and met with the director the following day.
“Normally you go into an audition and you’re there for 20 minutes and you’re gone. I was there for almost 12 hours, and he gave me the job at the end of the day,” Butler mentioned. “Which never happens. We did a handshake deal at the end of the day and he said, ‘Do you want to do it?’ And I said ‘yes, you just made my life’ and I gave him a hug. And then I got back on a plane, went straight to the theater and did a show that night, on a Tuesday.”
Butler started performing when he was 12 years outdated. His mom had all the time wished to be an actor herself, and ended up quitting her job to drive him to auditions and help his dream (he finally moved to L.A. to pursue it correctly).
“I didn’t really have a thing when I was a kid. I was very shy and I didn’t really like hanging out with other kids,” he mentioned. “I would spend eight hours a day playing the guitar and I was very reclusive. And then I stumbled into being on a film set, and I felt as though I found my tribe.”
Butler started with Nickelodeon and Disney Channel tasks, earlier than transferring into the CW house with soapy drama “The Carrie Diaries,” a prequel to “Sex and the City.” The extra severe film work, and Broadway, too, have been a marked shift in a profession which simply may’ve gone within the teeny heartthrob route.
“They tell you [when you start out] that you have to go on 100 auditions before you book one. I went on so many auditions, and you get one line in a Nickelodeon show, or a Disney show, and it feels like the biggest thing in the world,” Butler mentioned. “But it is strange when you start flipping the chapter, and you start evolving and what drives you [evolves]. It’s an interesting time, because I had a lot of years of doing different types of things. So now, I don’t want to just work to work right now.”
The Luhrmann venture could be very a lot beneath wraps in the mean time, however Butler writes over e-mail that, not shockingly, he’s fairly pumped.
“I am beyond honored Baz invited me on this journey with him; it is the role of a lifetime,” he mentioned. “I feel incredibly blessed to be working with singular directors like him and Quentin.”
He mentioned he’d prefer to return to theater in some unspecified time in the future within the close to future, however normally is approaching his profession with a bit extra care and warning now.
“That’s another thing: I’ve been trying to focus more on the process, rather than on this idea of perfection, or the outcome so much,” Butler mentioned. “Because the outcome is so fleeting, but I want to really enjoy the climb.”
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