Austin Butler Didn't See Family for 3 Years While Preparing for 'Elvis' : 'Wouldn't Talk to Anybody'

"I was speaking in his voice the whole time," Austin Butler said of his years-long prep work for Elvis

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Austin Butler. Photo: Emma McIntyre/WireImage

Austin Butler took his years-long preparation to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis very seriously.

During 31-year-old Butler's Variety Actors on Actors conversation with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery star Janelle Monáe published Sunday, the actor told Monae that he did not see his family for "about three years" while he got into character as the King of Rock 'n Roll.

"I went, I was off, we were prepping with Baz, and then I went to Australia," Butler told Monae during the conversation. "I had months where I wouldn't talk to anybody. And when I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis."

"I was speaking in his voice the whole time," Butler explained, referencing his tendency to slip back into speaking like Elvis long after he wrapped filming on the project. "So then I'd talk to my sister, and she's gotta listen to that."

"You had to say, 'This is who I am. This is what it takes,' " Monae said, applauding the lengths Butler went to to get into the role.

Butler has previously nodded toward going to extreme lengths for Elvis when he told British GQ in May that he was hospitalized and bedridden for a week after completing filming and that he "went home in tears" after director Luhrmann, 59, told people to "heckle" Butler while he was recording music for the film.

Austin Butler’s Elvis Concerts — Totaling 4 Hours — Will Be Cut Together, Says Baz Luhrmann
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

"When I was on my first day in the recording studio, Baz wanted me to get as close to performing as possible," Butler said in a recent cover interview with VMAN. "He had all the executives and everybody from RCA, who were back in the offices, he brought them into the recording studio and he goes, 'I want you all to sit facing Austin' ... and he told them to heckle me."

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At the 2022 Gotham Awards in New York City in November, Luhrmann told IndieWire that he will eventually put together a "concert cut" of the biopic that will run four hours in total.

"It's a directors' assembly. It's not a cut," Luhrmann, 60, told the outlet. "There's a whole lot of material that adds up to four hours, but I have gone on record now to say not today, not tomorrow, but at some point I would do [it]."

Luhrmann clarified during the interview that Butler "did his concerts full out" during production on Elvis, which runs for two hours and 39 minutes in its theatrical release format.

"He did all the numbers. Austin just did it and it was an out of body experience to watch him do those full concerts, so one day I will cut those full concerts together," the director said.

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