Austin Butler says he's finally 'getting rid of' his Elvis accent

US actor Austin Butler arrives for the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 10, 2023. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Austin Butler says his Elvis Presley accent is on the way out. (Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Austin Butler says he's "getting rid of" his Elvis Presley accent.

The star of Baz Luhrmann's Elvis adopted the music icon's southern drawl for the film — and kept it. Much has been made about Butler's new voice, especially after his Golden Globes speech last month, but it seems he's finally shedding it.

"I am getting rid of the accent," he said in a preview of Friday's The Graham Norton Show. "But I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing. One song took 40 takes."

However winning the Golden Globe — and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actor — has helped make up for it.

"It has been a whirlwind," the Southern California native, 31, said of the success of the film and his accolades. "It's amazing because when you are making a film, you never really know how it will be received. With this one there were so many ways it could go wrong, so to be received in the way it has means the world to me."

Butler transformed into the "Hound Dog" singer before he was even cast in the role in 2019. He's said he sent Luhrmann a tape of himself singing "Unchained Melody" and then endured "a five-month audition" process during which he would meet with the director and perform different songs and read dialogue. That was followed by a screen test, and he finally won the role. Before filming even began, in Australia in 2020, he had daily training with a dialect coach to perfect the accent, and did vocal exercises to expand his range. He also did daily karate training with a movement coach to improve his dexterity for hip shaking and dancing.

The film came out in June — and there's been a lot of interest in the fact that he's still taking like Elvis. (See: "Why in the Hell Is Austin Butler Still Talking Like Elvis?") He said last year that having committed two years to his life to the role, "I'm not surprised that it clicks in... Check in with me in 20 years when I've played a lot of roles, who knows what I'll sound like!"

Butler's speech at the Globes in January really amped up the conversation and criticism. He said after his acceptance speech, "I didn't even think about it. I don't think I sound like him still, but I guess I must, because I hear it all the time... I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time. I had three years where that was my only focus, so I'm sure there's pieces of him in my DNA and I will always be linked to him."

Nonetheless, even his former girlfriend of eight years, Vanessa Hudgens, who encouraged him to take the role, noted the change in his voice. She enjoyed a public LOL after his voice coach said Butler's accent may end up being permanent.

Meanwhile, Butler, who's now dating Kaia Gerber, didn't sound like Elvis to his Dune 2 co-star Dave Bautista on the set last year.

"I don't know who this guy was, but it's not Austin Butler," Bautista said of the actor who plays his brother Feyd-Rautha. "It's not Elvis. His voice is different, his look is different. Everything about his demeanor is terrifying."