Transforming into Elvis Presley landed Austin Butler in the hospital.
“Elvis” star Butler, 31, said that playing the King of Rock ‘n Roll was “the greatest ride of my life” — but it all caught up with him at the end.
“I didn’t get sick the entire time I filmed, but the day that I finished, I ended up in the emergency room,” he told People on the red carpet for the 2023 SAG Awards on Sunday.
Butler revealed that he “spent a week in bed” before going on to another project.
In May 2022, he told British GQ that he “woke up at 4 in the morning with excruciating pain” and was “rushed to hospital,” which was due to a virus he contracted that simulated the symptoms of appendicitis.
“My body just started shutting down the day after I finished ‘Elvis,’” Butler recalled.
But the trip to the emergency room wasn’t the only health challenge he faced while taking portraying Elvis.
He also told People that he lost his now-memorable voice while singing Elvis’ version of “Never Been to Spain.”
“We did so many takes. And at a certain point, I just lost my voice,” Butler explained. “So then I went on vocal rest for a couple days, and I was able to come back.”
Butler has been very committed to Elvis’ voice as he continues to talk like the late singer — with many saying still using the voice is “cringe.”
Voice coach Irene Bartlett, who was hired to work with Butler in 2019, defended his ever-lasting Elvis accent, telling ABC Gold Coast that he spent years building a “connection” with Elvis’ personality and was fully committed to playing the part.
“I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board,” she said. “I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”
She also admitted that the transformation of Butler’s voice for older Elvis could have been too much of a strain on him.
“You get through it all,” Butler concluded. “There was those days, but it was the greatest ride of my life.”
Butler was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the 2023 SAG Awards — though he didn’t win.
He did, however, win a best actor Golden Globe or his performance in the biopic — and addressed his voice change backstage at the Globes, claiming it is now indeed part of his DNA.
“I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I must because I hear it a lot,” the actor said. “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 there’s just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way.”