Austin Butler charmed award season audiences with his seeming inability to stop sounding like Elvis Presley during his 2023 Oscar campaign. But once it was time to start shooting the highly anticipated World War II series “Masters of the Air,” he knew it was time to stop being The King.
Appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to promote the limited series — which hails from executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and completes a loose trilogy that began with “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” — Butler explained that he worked with a dialect coach to ensure that his “Elvis” accent was long gone before filming the war epic.
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“I had a dialect coach just to help me not sound like Elvis,” Butler said. “I was just trying to remember who I was. I was trying to remember what I liked to do. All I thought about for three years was Elvis. And then I flew to London, and at that time it was COVID, so I was quarantined for 10 days. I thought, ‘Alright, just pour all this energy into learning about World War II.”
Butler’s struggles to separate himself from his “Elvis” persona have been well documented. He previously told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson that he struggled to view himself as an individual person after wrapping production because he had poured so much of himself into the character.
“That’s the confusing thing about individuality. Just even me, thinking of ‘Who is Austin?’ There are times where I feel like I may lose touch with myself and then suddenly, you have a moment where you feel that true presence,” he said. “With ‘Elvis,’ I definitely had an existential crisis when I finished. I didn’t do anything that was grounded in Austin for that time. I didn’t talk to my family or my friends or anybody. I would talk to them every couple months or something, but I really did lose touch with me. But I also learned things about myself — that’s a beautiful gift. It’s a confusing part about being an actor.”
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