Austin Butler Felt “Awful” After Gaining Weight To Play Elvis
But if you somehow managed to miss it, allow me to quickly fill you in.
Austin was cast as the late icon in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic, and his severe commitment to the role had a lasting impact.
Not only did Austin avoid seeing his family for three years while he was preparing for and shooting the project, but he was also left unaware of his own identity by the time filming wrapped.
“I didn’t see my family for about three years. I was off in New York prepping with Baz, and then I went to Australia. I had months where I wouldn’t talk to anybody. When I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis,” he said last December.
In fact, up until a couple of weeks ago, Austin had continued to speak in Elvis’s notable Southern accent, claiming that he believed it had become a part of his “DNA.”
Fans ended up labeling Austin “insufferable” for taking method acting way too seriously, while he also admitted that he fell into “a rabbit hole of obsession” with his dedication to the role.
“I broke down his life into periods of time where I could hear the differences in how his voice changed over the years and how his movement changed over the years, and I spent two years studying, trying to find his humanity as best as I could through that,” Austin said at the Cannes Film Festival last May.
Now, Austin is opening up further about the measures he took to become Elvis Presley, revealing that he also underwent a physical transformation.
Explaining that he needed to gain weight in order to play the older version of Elvis in parts of the film, Austin revealed on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast this week that while he wore a bodysuit for some scenes, he wanted to ensure that he was as prepared as possible in real life, too.
“I would go get two dozen doughnuts and eat them all,” Austin said. “I really started to pack on some pounds.”
Explaining that he ended up feeling “awful” with himself after incorporating these new eating habits, Austin continued, “It’s fun for a week or so, and then you feel awful with yourself.”
And going on to reveal that he also took inspiration from fellow actor Ryan Gosling, Austin shared more details about how he achieved his physical transformation for Elvis.
“I heard that Ryan Gosling, when he was going to do The Lovely Bones, had microwaved Häagen-Dazs and would drink it. So I started doing that,” he said.
If you didn’t know, Ryan memorably gained weight for the 2009 Peter Jackson film after being cast as the character of Jack Salmon.
Ryan revealed that he drank melted Häagen-Dazs ice cream in order to achieve his goal, which he set in place due to how he envisioned the character.
However, the film’s director and producers did not approve of Ryan’s weight gain and ultimately fired him from the movie just days before production began in 2007.
“We had a different idea of how the character should look,” Ryan told the Hollywood Reporter after being replaced by Mark Wahlberg.
“We didn’t talk very much during the pre-production process, which was the problem,” he continued. “It was a huge movie, and there’s so many things to deal with, and he couldn’t deal with the actors individually. I just showed up on set, and I had gotten it wrong.”