I Hope Austin Butler Keeps Talking Like Elvis Forever

The actor's vocal coach recently weighed in on the accent that just won't go away

Austin Butler attends the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Austin Butler attends the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles.

If you’ve been paying attention at all this awards season — or hell, even if you’ve just scanned social media at all these past few weeks — you’re likely already aware that Austin Butler simply cannot stop talking like Elvis Presley. Butler, who portrayed the King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, has noticeably retained the singer’s iconic drawl despite wrapping production on the movie nearly two years ago.

Fans (and detractors) on social media have called out the actor for his dedication to the Elvis voice, but now Irene Bartlett, the vocal coach who worked with Butler to prepare him for the role, has weighed in — and she insists he’s not doing it on purpose.

“What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that’s him. It’s genuine, it’s not put on,” Bartlett said. “I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice of Presley] on board.” She claims that the change in Butler’s speaking voice after the role might be permanent, adding, “I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”

“Because of COVID shutdowns, he was working on it all the time and it’s difficult to switch off something you’ve spent so much focus [and] time on,” she explained.

Butler himself has addressed all the chatter about his new voice, telling reporters in the press room after his Golden Globes victory, “I don’t even think about it. I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I haven’t noticed ’cause I hear it a lot. I think, I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time, and I had three years where that was my only focus in life, so I’m sure that there’s just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way.”

One can only hope. If Austin Butler wants to continue talking (and singing) and living his life as Elvis, who are we to stop him? Let’s be honest: he sounds much cooler when he does. Some folks will whine about authenticity, but we look to actors like Butler for entertainment. People fake accents all the time; it’s goofy, of course, but is it really any different than a celebrity getting cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance or hiring a stylist to help them craft a new look? Why are we okay with Ryan Gosling, the pride of London, Canada, randomly adopting a speaking voice that sounds like he grew up in deep Brooklyn, but not this? Why is Butler’s Elvis voice any different than, say, Marilyn Monroe talking in a breathy baby voice to cultivate her iconic persona?

I, for one, hope he takes it one step further and pivots entirely to an Elvis-based existence. Someone needs to bring back big sideburns and bedazzled jumpsuits, and he’s just the man to do it.

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