We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Tom Hanks helped Elvis star stop obsessing about the role

Tom Hanks helped Austin Butler, who plays Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's new biopic, to calm down about obsessively preparing for the role


The pressure on Austin Butler’s young shoulders is currently huge, and has been for the last two years. Stepping into the blue suede shoes of arguably the biggest and most iconic star of all time is no mean feat. It’s made even harder if you’re all geared up to make your big debut on set and then everything gets shut down because Tom Hanks gets Covid. However, Elvis will finally be out in the world soon and Butler can finally let out a sigh of relief.

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Butler explains that he did all of the typical things that you do when preparing to play an icon. “He basically turned his apartment into a detective scene, à la Charlie in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia unearthing a vast mail-room conspiracy – Just images of Elvis everywhere, from every time period.”

“Butler settled in and managed to suppress his panic, but he was mystified about how someone (like the real Elvis) could operate at that acute intensity for so many days and weeks in a row, let alone so many years of a career.”

He asked Tom Hanks (who plays Elvis’ manager and mentor Colonel Tom Parker) for advice on how he’s managed to keep his sanity over the decades. Butler recalls that Hanks told him; “Every day I try to read something that has nothing to do with the job that I’m doing.”

Butler says; “That gave me permission, because up till that point, I was only reading everything to do with Elvis. I was only listening to Elvis. It was Elvis’s influences and Elvis himself and nothing else.”

If only we all had a Tom Hanks in our lives to turn to for sensible advice. While we wait for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis to come out on June 24, check out our guide to the best musicals.