We wouldn’t be surprised if Austin Butler took home the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of the rock and roll icon. But while a lot went into how the actor prepared his voice for the role, don’t be fooled into thinking that all the work went into Elvis’ sound.
In an interview with the Mail, Butler’s strength and conditioning coach, former Olympic swimmer Ryan Gambin, revealed that the actor has endured the stress of working as the King of Rock and Roll. Unsurprisingly, Butler’s Elvis exercises dominated the hip movements.
If you look at the film, he takes his job very seriously, and clearly “Elvis has a lot to do with hip movement, so we do a lot of hip exercises,” Gambin revealed. “We don’t have a strong goal, everything is focused on his hips.”
Unlike many blockbusters today, Butler and Gambin had to be careful not to make the Hollywood actor grow too big in preparation for it, and the trainer told how Luhrmann asked them to stop in Butler’s arms because they were too big. “His shirts were a little tighter on Austin’s arms than Elvis,” explains Gambin.
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Whether Austin’s Elvis voice, which the actor says is in his DNA, is here to stay, Gambin has his opinion. “When we practice, he has little quirks,” Gambin said. “If we were doing a hard trill or something, in the middle of the set we’d be like, ‘Oh baby,’ in Elvis’ voice, and he doesn’t even know he’s doing that.”
Butler’s next role will be that of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, “the sci-fi son of a dog”, in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Part II. The actor said that he trained for four months to prepare for the role, adding that the strength of the work was “like putting my body in a place where I can physically command.”
Daniel Davies Daniel is the deputy digital editor for Men’s Health UK.