In an enlightening revelation, Austin Butler opens up about the pivotal advice he received from Hollywood legend Tom Hanks, his co-star in the acclaimed biographical film ‘Elvis,’ released last year. The young actor, who earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the titular character, candidly shared his experience during a recent interview with The Times newspaper in the UK.
Over a dinner conversation, Hanks, who portrayed Colonel Tom Parker in the film, imparted a crucial lesson to his co-actor—advice that Butler now regards as instrumental in safeguarding his emotional well-being. Butler recounted the heart-to-heart he had with Hanks, where the seasoned actor advised him to promptly delve into another acting role to counteract the potential pitfalls of “emotional whiplash.”
The metaphor resonates powerfully—just as abruptly halting a speeding train could result in a jarring jolt, transitioning from an intensely immersive character portrayal, such as Elvis, to the vagaries of daily life could potentially lead to emotional turbulence.
Butler told that Hanks, who played Colonel Tom Parker in the film, said to him:
“[Hanks] said, You have immersed yourself so deeply in Elvis that, for your mental health, it would be wise to go straight into something else. If you just jump off the train, you might have emotional whiplash… ‘And, you know,’ Hanks continued, ‘I’ve got this thing I’m producing.’”
The outcome of this pivotal conversation is clearly evident in Butler’s upcoming role as Major Gale Cleven in the eagerly anticipated series ‘Masters of the Air.’ This series, produced by Hanks in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, marks the third installment in the esteemed World War II saga, following the success of ‘Band of Brothers’ (2001) and ‘The Pacific’ (2010). The forthcoming show, slated to stream on AppleTV+, meticulously portrays the exploits of the 100th Bombardment Group of the United States Air Force, drawing inspiration from Donald L Miller’s authoritative book.
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Beyond this engaging role, audiences can also anticipate Butler’s transformative appearance in the sequel to ‘Dune,’ where he sheds his locks for a shaven-headed portrayal. The dedication Butler brings to his craft was underscored by his immersive preparation for the role of Elvis, a commitment that earned him not only an Oscar nomination but also a BAFTA and a Golden Globe award.
Tracing his journey, it’s evident that Butler’s trajectory from a child television star to his breakout moment in 2018—when he took the Broadway stage alongside the iconic Denzel Washington in ‘The Iceman Cometh’—marked a defining shift in his career. Reminiscing on that transformative experience, Butler remarked, “That really shifted my career. It was such a challenge, working with an absolute titan.”
In the vast expanse of Hollywood’s ever-evolving landscape, pearls of wisdom such as those shared by Tom Hanks remain invaluable touchstones for emerging talents like Austin Butler. As he steers his career through the ebbs and flows of the industry, his willingness to heed sage advice while embracing diverse and challenging roles positions him as a force to be reckoned with—a versatile artist poised to leave an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.