Who is Austin Butler? The actor reveals he is 'getting rid' of his Elvis accent

The actor has announced he is finally kicking the highly criticised 'Elvis voice'

Austin Butler
(Image credit: Christopher Khoury/Australian Press Agency via ZUMA Wire/Future)

Austin Butler, best known for his standout role as Elvis Presley in the 2022 biopic, Elvis, has announced he is 'getting rid' of his highly criticised Elvis accent. Following the release of Elvis, the actor found himself at the centre of a social media frenzy with fans and media alike asking why he continued using the 'Elvis accent' post-production.

While many asked 'did Austin Butler sang in Elvis?', and others simply wondered where to watch Elvis, for many people, they could not stop talking about Butler’s so-called “Elvis voice,” something the actor couldn't help but notice.

Austin Butler - who has a famous girlfriend- has previously spoken about how he worked with a dialect coach to prepare him to emulate the King of Rock and Roll. The actor started working on the "Elvis voice" months before filming began, ultimately leaving Austin giving up three years of his life to become Elvis Presley. In an interview after the Golden Globes, Butler said, “I had three years where that was my only focus, so I’m sure there’s pieces of him in my DNA and I’ll always be linked.”

His dialect coach echoed his statement. Appearing on ABC’s Gold Coast Radio show, she admitted that thanks to her immersive techniques, Butler's Elvis accent could “be there forever.” 

But now, Butler has announced he is working hard to kick the accent. Talking about his altered voice on The Graham Norton Show on Friday evening [3 February] he said, “It made me self-conscious for a second because I thought, ‘Am I being phony? Is this not my voice?’

"I am getting rid of the accent, but I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing,” he revealed, “One song took 40 takes.”

What made Austin Butler famous?

Austin Butler achieved worldwide recognition for his role as Elvis Presley in Baz Lurmann's 2022 biopic, Elvis, but the actor began his acting career in the early 2000s, appearing on a variety of shows on Nickelodeon. 

Butler's career began at the age of 13 after he was approached by a representative from a background acting management business while attending the Orange County Fair in his home town of California.  He quickly discovered he had a passion for it and began taking acting classes while appearing in various background roles.

The actor then appeared on the kids’ network Nickelodeon, acting in popular tween shows such as Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide and Zoey 101. In 2009 he made his movie debut playing Jake Pearson in the teen movie Aliens in the Attic. He continued to take on various movie roles, his most famous being 2019’s Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood.

Butler made his theatrical debut in 2018, playing Don Parritt in The Iceman Cometh alongside Denzel Washington. 

His most famous role to date, playing Elvis in the 2022 biopic, won the actor his first Golden Globe in January 2023. Butler took home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama for his performance in the film. In his acceptance speech, Butler thanked the Presley family for their support throughout filming. He said, "“The Presley family, thank you guys, thank you for opening your hearts, your memories, your home to me. Lisa Marie, Priscilla, I love you forever.”

Austin Butler

(Image credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

How old was Austin Butler when he lost his mom?

Austin Butler lost his mother to cancer in 2014 when he was 23. In a weird twist of fate, Elvis, who Austin portrays in the Elvis biopic, was also 23 when his mother, Gladys, died. 

Speaking about the odd coincidence, Austin said, "The first thing I actually sent to Baz was coming out of this grief that I was feeling, relating to my mom, and me singing 'Unchained Melody. And so that was the foundation. That was my first moment where I realised, 'If I was to do this [play Elvis], this is how I’d want to approach playing Elvis'. 

"And so, in a way, this film… I didn’t think about it at the time. It wasn’t this conscious thing. But I’ve looked back and gone, 'It ends up feeling like a love letter'. It ends up feeling sort of like this love letter to my mom, and to Elvis and his mom, you know? Because that’s the biggest void I’ve felt in my life, losing her.

"She was my best friend. I’ve never experienced that type of unconditional love, and I probably never will, of a mother – a “sense”, is what I mean. And I know that’s how Elvis felt."

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.