Austin Butler explains how he mastered every diphthong of Elvis Presley

Austin Butler as Elvis
Image via Warner Bros.

One of life’s less-indulged joys is learning about the wide array of creative processes employed by artists of all calibers. For Hollywood in particular, gaining insight on how today’s movie stars find themselves preparing for a role tends to be nothing short of fascinating.

Such was the case for Austin Butler as he got ready to take up an absolute mammoth of a mantle in Elvis Presley, whom he portrays in Baz Luhrmann’s biographical drama Elvis. The actor drove his nose right into the grindstone for the role, dead set on nailing every aspect of the King; from his provocative dancing, to the tango between his swagger and vulnerability.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Butler revealed the sheer amount of work that came with nailing down Presley’s speaking style, from scouring archival footage to clipping out each and every diphthong in the King’s toolbox.

“I’d hear him say a certain word and I would clip just that bit out so I knew how he said that word. I created my own archive of how he said every word and every diphthong, and the way that he used musicality in his voice.”

It ultimately led to the creation of Butler’s own toolbox, full of Presley’s speech patterns, that would end up being brought to life on the big screen.

“There are so many people out there who are super-fans, who compile these websites that have the most amazing resources. I scoured all of them. I looked at every YouTube video I could find and every film that I could watch, and I started making my own [sound catalog].”

It ultimately paid off, with Butler’s performance as the titular superstar being one of the film’s unanimous highlights, garnering critical acclaim from all over. Fans looking to be wowed by Butler’s presence can catch Elvis in theaters on June 24.