‘Elvis’ star Austin Butler says he was embarrassed by his Disney Channel past

Actor Austin Butler will soon get to play the so-called King of Rock and Roll in Elvis this summer and says his early work with Disney makes him feel more like a court jester when he looks back on it these days.

“I was sort of embarrassed about some of the things that I had to do. But I had to cut my teeth somewhere, so I decided to treat each one of these jobs as a way to grow.”

The former Zoey 101 and Hannah Montana performer made his views on his past known to Vogue in a profile published yesterday. It looked at the journey the 30-year-old took to get the role, and while speaking with the outlet, Butler also says he bonded with Elvis over their similar losses in their lives.

“I’d been watching all these documentaries and learned a couple days prior that Elvis’s mom had passed away when he was 23, the same as me. I had this nightmare that my mother was alive again, but dying. It felt so fresh and painful. I thought he probably had nights where he woke up from nightmares like this. So, what can I do with that? I sat down at the piano in my bathrobe and just started. I sang [‘Unchained Melody’] to my mom. I wasn’t trying to do anything but take that emotion.”

Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann, premieres June 24. The film also stars Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. Here’s hoping the performance earns Butler some respect when all is said and done.