Please Don’t Ditch Your Family for 3 Years to Become Elvis

"I had months where I wouldn’t talk to anybody," Austin Butler told Janelle Monae. "And when I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis."

Please Don’t Ditch Your Family for 3 Years to Become Elvis
Photo:Alberto Rodriguez (Getty Images)

When Kim Kardashian complained in March that “nobody wants to work these days,” she clearly didn’t do her research. In a conversation with Janelle Monae for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” show, actor Austin Butler claimed that in preparing to play Elvis Presley in Elvis, he went so hard that he “didn’t see my family for about three years.”

“I was prepping with [Elvis director Baz Luhrmann], and then I went to Australia. I had months where I wouldn’t talk to anybody. And when I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis,” Butler told Monae. “I was speaking in his voice the whole time.” Is this—his three-year, 24/7 Elvis impersonation phase—what doomed his near-decade-long relationship with Vanessa Hudgens in 2020? I have so many questions.

These aren’t even Butler’s first eyebrow-raising comments about the lengths he went to in making Elvis. In July, he told British GQ that he was briefly hospitalized and bedridden after filming wrapped. And during filming, he said he “went home in tears” one day because Luhrmann instructed people to “heckle” and harass Butler while he was recording music for the film.

Celebrities, they’re just like us—in that they, too, were indoctrinated into our unsustainably capitalist nation’s fanatical “grind” culture craze, and feel so compelled to ensure we know how hard they work, how much they’ve suffered. In reality, is making any movie really that serious? I get that Elvis Presley is a legendary, trailblazing figure in music and American history, but… it’s still a movie. Please don’t ditch your entire family for three years as a method acting bit. Please!

That said, it is Oscar campaign season, wherein actors from the biggest pictures of the year make the rounds in media trying to make their case. And this does feel a bit like an actor trying to let the award gods know how much he sacrificed for a role. But Austin, if you’re reading this, you’re a perfectly fine actor—you don’t need to ditch your family for three years for us to enjoy your impersonation of Elvis. Spend time with loved ones! Keep your girlfriend of 10 years if you liked her! Life is short. Take care of yourself, king.

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