The mystery is over. Beating out Harry Styles, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 27-year-old actor Austin Butler will play king of rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic. Butler will star against Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, as the movie explores their complex relationship. In a statement, Luhrmann said: “Through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.” So, who exactly is Austin Butler? Get to know the rising star, who has been gracing the small screen for over a decade and is soon to hit the big leagues.
Butler got his start on Hannah Montana and iCarly
In 2007, when Butler was about 15 years old, he appeared on Disney Channel’s ‘Hannah Montana’ during the episode ‘My Best Friend’s Boyfriend’. He played the easily-spooked love interest Derek Hanson, who ended up jumping into Miley Cyrus’ lap as they watched a horror movie. Butler also appeared on Nickelodeon series ‘iCarly’ as Jake Krandle, a high school heartthrob who plays guitar.
Butler can sing in real life — and play instruments
While Elvis biopic contenders Harry Styles and Ansel Elgort are known for releasing music, Butler has been more selective when sharing his talents. The actor picked up his first instrument, the violin, when he was nine years old. “[Then] I started to play the guitar a lot. I would play so much that my fingers would bleed. I would super glue them closed. And I played a lot of piano,” Butler told Clevver News in an interview.
It should be interesting to see whether these skills come in handy during the biopic, as Elvis was also known to play the guitar, bass and piano.
He’s dating former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens
The power couple have been together for eight years now — and they’re adorable about it on social media. Reacting to the news of Butler being cast as Elvis, Hudgens posted to Instagram that she was “over the [expletive] moon” and “so proud of my honey”. It’s unclear how exactly the pair met, but in 2015, Butler told ET that the secret to keeping their relationship healthy was putting the other person first. “If you’re constantly looking for ways that you can make them happy, and they’re constantly looking for ways to make you happy, then you can’t go wrong, I don’t think,” he said.
He’s best known for the CW’s ‘Carrie Diaries’ and this MTV fantasy series
‘iCarly’ wasn’t the last time Butler would play a high school heartthrob. He reprised the trope once again as the brooding Sebastian Kydd in the Carrie Diaries, a prequel of ‘Sex in the City’. However, the show was cancelled in 2014 after two seasons. Two years later, Butler picked up the role of Wil Ohmsford on MTV’s fantasy series ‘Shannara Chronicles’ on MTV. Similarly, the show was cancelled after only two seasons.
He made his Broadway debut last year — and totally stole the show
Butler debuted on Broadway last year in the limited-run theatrical production ‘The Iceman Cometh’. He stole the show as the 18-year-old ‘lost boy’ Don Parritt, according to a review in the New Yorker that dubbed him as the production’s ‘only actor’. “Most performers want to be seen at any cost, but actors — at least, those as good as Butler — are both determined and relaxed in their ambition to do justice to the playwright’s text while contributing to the life of the story,” wrote critic Hilton Als.
Butler didn’t think he would ever do a musical film — because he doesn’t sing in public
Three years ago, when Butler was asked whether he would consider taking on a musical film, the actor was sceptical. “That’s always been something that I’ve just thought I would never do, because I don’t really sing in public,” he told Clevvr News. However, the multi-instrumentalist added that he was blown away by the 2012 musical drama film ‘Les Miserables’ and that he “would love to be part of something like that.” So, never say never.