Some celebrities drop their last names in an effort to appear more aloof. Others make alter egos. (We’re looking at you, Calvin Harris.) Then there’s Austin Butler, who clearly decided to switch things up. In preparation for his starring role in Elvis, the actor seemingly adopted the King of Rock’s sultry voice—which would be fine if he wasn’t still using it.
Last night, Butler won Best Actor at the Golden Globes for his portrayal of Elvis, which, you know, good for him! But his acceptance speech left me wondering if the ghost of Elvis is somehow trapped in his vocal cords. “My boy, my boy,” Butler crooned as he walked on stage. “I just am so grateful right now.” After acknowledging everyone from The Hollywood Foreign Press, to the film’s director, Baz Luhrman—plus Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, the Presley family, and even his own—Butler thanked the man who inspired his now-permanent drawl. “Lastly, Elvis Presley himself, you were an icon and a rebel and I love you so much,” he said. Though heartfelt, Butler’s speech was overshadowed by the fact that he still sounds exactly like the late singer. Of course, viewers at home took to Twitter to discuss.
Despite the public’s dismay, it doesn’t sound like Butler plans to ditch the voice any time soon. In an interview after the Golden Globes, the actor 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.” Butler reportedly trained extensively for the role and adopted Elvis’s voice to feel connected to the singer. Earlier this year, he spoke about the experience in an interview with Janelle Monae for Variety’s Actors on Actors series. “During Elvis, I didn’t see my family for about three years,” he said. “I had months where I wouldn’t talk to anybody, and when I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis.”
Before Butler went all Daniel Day-Lewis on us, his voice really was noticeably different. Fans of the actor will remember how he sounded in The Carrie Diaries, or even the instant classic, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Though both projects released over a decade ago, it’s hard to forget such a drastic change in pitch. Though if Butler’s explanation is correct, I have some bad news for you. It takes roughly two months to form a habit—and he’s far past that. So maybe it’s time we just accept it. The Elvis voice is his voice now. At least, until he shows up on Arrakis.
Associate Staff Writer
Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5’s revival. When she’s not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.
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