Austin Butler faltered on the set of Elvis because he was terrified of ruining the film.
The American actor is set to become a household name after starring in Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic about the King of Rock and Roll.
Although he’s not new to acting, having started his career as a child, this is his biggest gig yet – and he feared he wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
“I was stepping out in the famous black leather outfit and I was terrified,” the 30-year-old told NME of the scene recreating Elvis’ 1968 comeback show. “I had done so much work, but at that point I thought, ‘If this doesn’t go well, the whole movie might fall apart and my career is over. It is decisive.
“Then I realized it was a watershed moment for Elvis too. It was all on the line for him.”
His path to landing the coveted part was unconventional. After sending in a tape of himself singing Unchained Melody, a stripped-down version accompanied by piano, Austin flew to New York to meet the Moulin Rouge! director.
“I talked to Baz for about three hours. He asked me to come back the next day and read the script with him,” he recalls. “So I went in and read a few scenes and then he asked me to come back the next day and sing a few songs. We did that day in and day out for about five months and I didn’t know if I had any more work. “
Elvis, which also stars Tom Hanks, hits theaters on Friday.