Austin Butler Says He Was Hospitalized After Playing Elvis: 'My Body Just Started Shutting Down'

Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film Elvis, in theaters June 24

Playing Elvis Presley took a toll on Austin Butler.

The 30-year-old actor told British GQ that when he completed filming the upcoming Elvis movie back in March 2021, he became hospitalized and bedridden for a week. According to the magazine, Butler was diagnosed with a virus that simulates appendicitis.

"The next day I woke up at 4 in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital," he said. "My body just started shutting down the day after I finished Elvis."

Director Baz Luhrmann recalled about Butler's performance, "Look, I've worked with every kind of actor and every kind of performer. And I accept that they have freak-outs, that's okay. But Austin, he doesn't freak out. He has the most polite panic of anyone I've ever met."

Hugh Stewart/Warner Bros.

Butler also explained the emotional reason he was able to connect to Presley on a deeper level.

"His mother passed away when he was 23, and my mum passed away when I was 23. So when I learned that, it was one of those things where I got chills, and I just thought, 'Okay, I can connect to that,' " he said, later adding, "I've never loved somebody I've never met more than Elvis."

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Presley's granddaughter, actress Riley Keough recently praised Butler's performance in the film. While speaking at a Variety Women in Motion panel during the Cannes Film Festival (where her directorial debut War Pony was being screened) Keough, 32, said "it was a very emotional experience" watching Elvis.

"I started crying five minutes in and didn't stop," she said, adding, "There's a lot of family trauma and generational trauma that started around then for our family. I felt honored they worked so hard to really get his essence, to feel his essence. Austin captured that so beautifully."

The singer's ex-wife Priscilla Presley, 76, gave the film her seal of approval in an Instagram post as well, saying her daughter Lisa Marie, 54, is thrilled with the way the drama, which focuses on Elvis and his relationship with his manager Colonel Parker (Tom Hanks), has turned out.

"I've seen Elvis the film, I watched the trailer over a dozen times," Priscilla began the caption of her post, alongside a trailer for the movie. "But the words I heard from my daughter on how much she loved the film and that Riley will love it too when she sees it brought tears."

Noting that she "relived every moment in this film," Priscilla continued, "it took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa."

Elvis is in theaters June 24.

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