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Is Austin Butler actually singing in 'Elvis'?

In his audition tape, the actor performed "Unchained Melody" in a bathrobe.

How do you become a rock legend? Heading into the role of Elvis Presley for Baz Luhrmann's biopic, Austin Butler told TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb that he "tried everything."

"Everything," it turns out, includes singing: Butler's actual voice is featured in the movie.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Butler sings all of Elvis' earlier, more unguarded performances in the movie. Later on, his voice is blended with the real Elvis'.

The official soundtrack, per Variety, says that Butler sings the following songs: “I’ll Fly Away,” “That’s All Right,” “Baby, Let’s Play House,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Working on the Building” (with Yola), “Hound Dog,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “Trouble,” “Crawfish,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “If I Can Dream,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

The soundtrack also features singers like Kacey Musgraves, Yola, Eminem and Stevie Nicks.

In this way, "Elvis" is similar to past musical biopics, which use technology to recreate legendary singers' voices. For his role as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody," Rami Malek's voice was blended with Mercury's and singer Marc Martel, per an interview Malek did with Metro.

Butler also brought some of his own musical talent to the table. According to an interview with Interview magazine, Butler has been playing guitar since he was 13. "(I) fell in love. I would play for eight hours a day and that became my obsession," Butler said.

Butler's voice is part of what landed him the role. In his audition tape, Butler sang Presley's "Unchained Melody" — while wearing a bathrobe, per Rolling Stone.

(L) Elvis Presley promoting the movie King Creole in 1958. (R) Austin Butler as Elvis.
(L) Elvis Presley promoting the movie King Creole in 1958. (R) Austin Butler as Elvis.Getty Images, Warner Bros.

"I had just woken up,” Butler told The Project, explaining the process of filming his audition tape. “My hair was a mess and I sat down at the piano and there was something that was pivotal in that moment for me as far as how I would want to approach it because what fascinated me was all the moments that we didn’t see of Elvis. The moment when he just woke up. The moment when he was experiencing stuff that he didn’t get to experience in front of a camera. So, that became the bedrock on which I built the rest of the experience.”

Beyond the musical factor, Butler also had to master the King of Rock and Roll's speaking cadence for the part. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Butler explained his painstaking process, listening to archival footage and creating his own audio dictionary.

“I’d hear him say a certain word and I would clip just that bit out so I knew how he said that word. I created my own archive of how he said every word and every diphthong, and the way that he used musicality in his voice," Butler said.

In addition to reading biopics and singing, Butler also got to know Elvis’ family members. The singer died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Butler met Priscilla Presley, the singer’s ex-wife, at Graceland, his Tennessee estate.

“The very first time I went to Graceland I met Priscilla. I met her right before I walked into the house ... She’s just so ethereal and angelic,” he recalled. “She gave me this big hug and said, ‘You have a lot of support.'”

Three generations of Presleys attended the movie’s premiere in Memphis: Priscilla Presley, 77; her daughter Lisa Marie Presley, 54; and her granddaughter, Riley Keough, 33.

Riley Keough, Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley at a special Screening of ELVIS, in Memphis, TN, on June 11, 2022.
Riley Keough, Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley at a special Screening of ELVIS, in Memphis, TN, on June 11, 2022.Eric Charbonneau / Shutterstock

"Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart & soul beautifully,” Lisa Marie Presley tweeted after watching the movie twice. 

Despite calling it the most "challenging" period of his life, Butler told Jenna and Hoda that filming "Elvis" was a "joy."

"What a privilege it was to live with Elvis and get to learn everything about him for two years," Butler said. "It was the best time in my life."

After filming, Butler told Hoda and that it was hard to shake Elvis. In fact, the actor was hospitalized the day after filming wrapped.

"I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to hospital,” Butler told GQ. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished ‘Elvis.’”

You could say he was "all shook up" by the process of "Elvis."