Photo via Warner Bros.

Austin Butler almost played Rooster in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, before beating Miles Teller to ‘Elvis’

“Talk to me, Parker."

Imagine a world where Ryan Reynolds portrayed Captain America and Chris Evans donned the Green Lantern CGI suit, or where Jake Gyllenhaal landed the lead role in Man of Steel while Henry Cavill starred in Enemy. To call such worlds “different” would be a laughable understatement.

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But we almost had a similar world during the pre-production phases of Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick, and in that world, we would’ve gotten Miles Teller as the King of Rock, and Austin Butler as Rooster.

Teller was a known shortlister for the titular role of Baz Luhrmann’s film for a while, alongside the likes of Harry Styles, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Ansel Elgort, and eventual claimer Austin Butler, but apparently Butler had been in the running for one of Teller’s roles, too.

Denise Chamian, who served as casting director for both films, revealed in an interview with Variety that Butler only narrowly missed out on the role of Maverick‘s Rooster before being cast in Elvis.

“The thing that he got the closest to was ‘Top Gun.’ When I cast that, we were looking for the role that Miles Teller played. I felt so passionate about Austin. Ultimately, his audition was shown to Tom and all the filmmakers. They agreed he had something and they were happy to know him, but they thought he was too young. At that point, I saw that this actor has something very special that other people don’t always have. It’s almost the way he looks into the camera. He knows the camera and lets the camera see him, and that is really what is so captivating.”

It definitely wound up being a blessing for audiences, as Butler’s performance as the King of Rock received nearly universal acclaim, masterfully wielding the swagger and turmoil of Elvis in a manner most electric.

Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick are both currently playing in theaters.


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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered, a graduate of St. Thomas University's English program, a fountain of film opinions, and probably the single biggest fan of Peter Jackson's 'King Kong.' Having written professionally since 2018, her work has also appeared in The Town Crier and The East.