'Dead Ringer' Croons His Way Through Elvis Biopic

Austin Butler plays the King in Baz Luhrmann film due out June 24
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2022 8:52 AM CST

(Newser) – Baz Luhrmann has moved on from Jay Gatsby to the King of Rock 'n' Roll. The trailer for the director's upcoming biopic, Elvis, has dropped, and it stars 30-year-old Austin Butler as a "dead ringer" for the iconic singer and actor, reports USA Today. The film takes a look back at Elvis Aaron Presley's childhood, then fast-forwards to his rise to fame—an ascension wrapped up in his relationship with controversial manager Col. Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks. "There are some who'd make me out to be the villain of this here story," says Hanks in a voice-over in the trailer.

Butler—who played Manson Family member Tex Watson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and beat out the likes of Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Harry Styles for the lead role in Luhrmann's flick—says it was nerve-wracking to play the King, who died at the age of 42 in 1977. "Elvis is such an icon and he's held up to a superhuman status," Butler said at a promotional event last week, noting that he dove into voice training six days a week once he got the role. "You can impersonate somebody. But it's to find the life within, to find the heart."

And yes, it is indeed Butler singing in the film—at least for a good portion of it, per The Hollywood Reporter. At a virtual presser, Luhrmann noted that Butler's voice was used during the scenes when he played a younger Presley, while parts of the film showing Elvis later in life were a mix of Butler's voice and recordings of the real deal. "I watched as much as I could, over and over," Butler says. "I feel such a responsibility to Elvis and to [ex-wife] Priscilla and [daughter] Lisa Marie, and all the people around the world who love him so much." Elvis is set to hit theaters June 24. (Watch the full trailer here.)

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