'Elvis' Star Austin Butler Plays Presley's Guitar and Shares Why He Still Speaks in Singer's Voice

Elvis star Austin Butler recently played the late singer's iconic 1956 Gibson J200 guitar at Graceland

Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming movie Elvis, but the actor recently had a chance to play one of The King's actual guitars.

Butler, 30, recently traveled to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, according to Riley Keough, who is a granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley.

Keough posted two photos to Instagram of Butler playing Elvis' signature 1956 Gibson J200 guitar. The acoustic instrument has Elvis' name printed into its fretboard and is part of the archival collection at the mansion, according to the Graceland website.

In the post's caption, actress Keough, 33, wrote that not many people besides Elvis himself have had the good fortune to strum that guitar.

"We got to spend time with @austinbutler this weekend in the house, at Graceland," she wrote. "It was such a special and overwhelming experience I haven't quite processed. One of many sweet things that happened while we were there — Austin played my grandfather's guitar in the house."

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austin butler
Austin Butler. Riley Keough/Instagram

Keough went on to explain that Butler may be one of the few individuals ever to play the guitar, noting that Paul McCartney once tuned it.

"This guitar hasn't been played by many people. I know it was tuned by @paulmccartney once, but as far as people sitting down and playing it @austinbutler is one of very few people aside from my grandfather," she wrote.

Butler recently told Entertainment Tonight that he has realized his voice sometimes still slips into his impersonation of Elvis for the film's titular role, even though GQ reported that filming for the project ended in March 2021.

"It's one of those things where certain things trigger it," Butler told ET in an interview published Tuesday. "When you live with something for two years and you do nothing else, I think that you can't help it. It becomes a fiber of your being."

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Austin Butler. Riley Keough/Instagram

Butler also told ET that he tried to emphasize a portrayal of Elvis as a human figure and not necessarily the King of Rock & Roll in his performance, explaining that the responsibility of playing such an iconic cultural figure put a "weight like I never felt before" on him.

"And there's a responsibility to his family and also putting his story into context," Butler said. "That's the thing. There were so many misconceptions about him; there's so many ideas of him. So I felt a responsibly to bring the humanity."

Keough, her mother Lisa Marie Presley and grandmother Priscilla, 77, were all on hand for the Graceland premiere of Elvis on Saturday. Back in May, Keough said that she started crying within the first five minutes of the film's runtime when she first saw it.

Though the extended Presley family all appears to approve of the movie, critical reviews of the film have been mixed ahead of its release. However, multiple critics commended Butler for his performance as one of the most popular rock-and-roll stars ever.

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis premieres June 24 in theaters and 45 days later on HBO Max.

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