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‘Elvis’ star Austin Butler said his ‘body started shutting down’ after he immersed himself in biopic

The actor spent a week bedridden after wrapping up the film.
ELVIS 2022
de Baz Luhrmann
Austin Butler.
COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL © Warner Bros. - Bazmark Films - Roadshow Entertainment - The Jackal Group - Whaleroc
The movie will be released in theaters on June 24, 2022. Alamy Stock Photo

Austin Butler took his role in the upcoming "Elvis" biopic so seriously that he ended up making himself sick.

The actor, 30, opens up about the experience of portraying the iconic singer in a new interview with GQ and describes the physical effects it had on his body.

Like many actors, Butler immersed himself in his role and worked hard to research Elvis Presley's life and work. Shortly after finishing production on the film in March 2021, the actor's body decided to tell him that he desperately needed to slow down.

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

The 30-year-old was ultimately bedridden for a week after being diagnosed with a type of virus that simulates appendicitis.

Austin Butler portraying Elvis Presley in the upcoming biopic "Elvis."
Austin Butler portraying Elvis Presley in the upcoming biopic "Elvis."Alamy Stock Photo

Butler’s method acting approach caused him to take on Presley’s character in a way that left him feeling disconnected to himself after wrapping the film.

“You can lose touch with who you actually are. And I definitely had that when I finished Elvis — not knowing who I was,” he said.

The actor wasn't the only one who noticed a change in his demeanor.

“My family said I didn’t sound like me anymore,” he admitted.

Elvis- '68 Comeback Special
Elvis Presley during a TV special in 1968. Gary Null / NBC

Despite the physical effects the role had on Butler, he still had a rewarding experience portraying Presley, and developed a strong sense of respect for the singer.

“It’s comforting to me now, when I get in the car. I’ll just go, ‘What do I want to listen to?’ Usually I just end up popping on Elvis,” he said. “I’ve never loved somebody I’ve never met more than Elvis.” 

Earlier this month, Butler walked the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York City with none other than Priscilla Presley, Elvis' former wife. The 77-year-old recently posted on Facebook about the film and praised the actor for his portrayal of her former husband.

“Halfway through the film Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW!!!” she said. “Bravo to him … he knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part. I can only imagine."