Austin Butler Reveals How Elvis Damaged Him

Austin Butler says that his voice has been permanently changed after playing Elvis.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Updated


Austin Butler may be best known for playing the Rock n’ Roll icon Elvis Presley in the biopic Elvis. These kinds of portrayals of characters with larger-than-life personas often require a great deal from the actors who play them. On an episode of The Graham Norton Show, Elvis star Austin Butler admits to some of the effects that the role had on him. 

Butler says that the role “Destroyed my voice a bit.” Some fans have noted a change in Butler’s speaking voice from before he played Elvis and since. Although some of this can be attributed to natural vocal change as he grows older, the role undoubtedly had an impact on his speech. 

Butler mentions that he’s “getting rid of the accent, but I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing.” There was a notable transformation in the actor’s voice for the film. Butler emulated Presley’s low, raspy, drawl to great effect. Fortunately, the change was well-received by fans and critics.

“I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time, and I had three years where that was my only focus in life. So I’m sure that there’s just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way.” Butler said of his newfound voice. After spending years embodying the singer, Butler’s voice has been permanently changed.

Elvis is a biopic about the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, and written and directed by Baz Luhrmann. It tells the story of Elvis’ rise to fame through the eyes of his manager Colonel Tom Parker. It stars Austin Butler as the titular character and Tom Hanks as his manager Colonel Tom Parker. The movie was a critical and commercial success and garnered eight Academy Award nominations.

Elvis Presley has been a mainstay in American music iconography since his arrival on the music scene. Although it isn’t the first film to explore the singer’s life and time in the music industry, it may be the most successful. 

Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis specifically has been lauded by critics and viewers of the movie. The young actor expertly captured the singer’s voice and mannerisms. His role in Elvis garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Some audiences may recognize Butler from his time as a teen star on Nickelodeon and Disney. As a teen, the actor worked with names like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Miranda Cosgrove. He started off with background and guest-starring roles in shows like Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Wizards of Waverly Place, iCarly, and Hannah Montana, before landing a main role on the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 alongside Jamie Lynn Spears. 

Austin Butler’s acting work started receiving critical acclaim first with his role in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh alongside Denzel Washington on Broadway. He also created a buzz with his brooding portrayal of a Manson family member in Quentin Tarantino’s comedy-drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. For Butler, the transition from teen actor to dramatic actor seemed seamless.

Butler has a number of projects coming up after the success of Elvis. He will be starring alongside Tom Hardy and Jodie Comer in Jeff Nichols’ drama The Bikeriders. He will also be starring in the Apple TV+ war drama miniseries Masters of the Air, and appearing as Feyd-Rautha in the science fiction film Dune: Part Two.

Time will tell how this vocal change will impact his upcoming roles. It is possible that Butler will have to use his newfound skill again for another role down the line. No matter what, the young actor has shown that he and his voice are up for the challenge.