-Man, oh, man.
I'm so happy to meet you. And thank you so much
for coming on the show. You hit a home run
with this movie, buddy. I can't even tell you
what a great job you did. We saw it.
We screened it the other night. You're fantastic in this movie. -Thank you.
-Congratulations. -Thank you so much.
-It was so good. I want to get down to
all the details and ask you all the questions. Here's some of the reviews,
by the way, just so you know, if you want to plug your ears. But one says, "When
Austin Butler shakes his hips in Elvis' first gig as
a full-blown rock 'n' roller, it's like watching
two stars being born," which is — That was "Time Out." I like that one.
[ Cheers and applause ] "Vanity Fair" says,
"It may well be a star-making turn
for Austin Butler.

And I agree with that. And then this one
is my favorite. "Entertainment Weekly" says, "Austin Butler stares
down the lens and melts it." That's — I've never heard that,
melting it. But I did feel that,
when I was watching the thing — Baz Luhrmann did
such an amazing job creating it. -Oh, yeah, he did. I'm so proud of
everything he's done. -Yeah.
-It was incredible. -Did you feel
when you're auditioning — When you knew that there was
an audition for Elvis and you're like,
"I'm close to it," did you get nervous? Did you always know Elvis?
-Yeah. -You did.
-Yeah, it's terrifying.

I mean, but it's that thing
where it's — I mean, it's the biggest
responsibility I've ever felt. You feel such a responsibility
to him, to his family, to all the people around
the world who love him so much. And so it's terrifying. But it's also the thing where,
as an actor — Like, the actors that I always
looked up to when I was a kid — My dad always had Turner Classic
Movies in the house. And so "Raging Bull"
and "East of Eden" and "On the Waterfront"
and all those. So it was always like,
"What did they do?" And so it's always been
about the challenge. So I just leant into that
as much as I could. -But then once
you got cast as Elvis, do you go like,
"Okay, now I got the gig. Now it's really hard.
I really got to get to work." -Yeah, you feel like you're
about to climb Mount Everest. -Yeah. It really is.
And you did it perfectly. -Oh, thank you.
-I can't even tell you.

You didn't do too much.
It wasn't too little. Wait till you see
this performance. I'm telling you, buddy,
it was a knockout. I mean, just even the accents
that Elvis had, the way he talked in the '50s, the way he talked
in the '60s and the '70s, like three different Elvises. And you sang differently. And you actually sang
in this movie. -Yeah.
-Yeah. Well, I'm saying that because…
[ Laughter ] Sorry. But, I mean,
we've had some actors on this show. They play parts in movies,
and they don't sing and they lip-sync. But you can play guitar
and you sang. And you danced and moved just
like — It was — But, I mean,
how did you do the accents? How did you remember
what you were doing? -Well, you know,
I mean, for one thing, you listen to Elvis speak. And there's these amazing
archives out there of every interview he ever gave. And that was the first thing
that hit me was, it's not just
one voice of Elvis. His voice changed
so much over the years.

And so it's that thing of — -Could you give us an example? I'm sorry to
put you on the spot. -I told myself
I wasn't gonna do this. [ Cheers and applause ]
Alright, alright. -A little bit?
-Alright. So, I mean,
I haven't done this at all. And it's been a long time,
so take it easy on the Internet. But — Alright, so, like,
an example is, when he was 19 and he goes on
the "Louisiana Hayride." It's 1954. And his voice —
You know, he's nervous. His voice at that time —
You speak a lot faster when you're nervous.

And, also, he was young. And so his voice
at that point was like, "Well, I'd like to say how happy
we are to be down here. It's a real honor
for us to be — get a chance to appear
on 'Louisiana Hayride.' So like that.
-Yep. [ Cheers and applause ] And then like
a couple years later, he's 21. It's 1956. And, honestly,
this one I thought of earlier, because it's how
I feel right now. It's that thing when
you're not sleeping at night. You're just buzzing. I can't believe —
I've got to take a second. I'm on "Jimmy Fallon" talking
about playing Elvis Presley. Like, you're my hero, man.
Like, this is crazy. It just blows my mind.
I really…

Like, I just — Yeah, so,
at this point, he's 21. And at that point,
he's more like — He says — 'Cause he's asked, "What are you
thinking about at night?" And he says, "Well,
everything has happened to me so fast in the last year and a
half till I'm all mixed up. You know, I mean,
I can't keep up with everything that's happening." -Yeah. It's unbelievable.
-So, there's that. And then for,
like, a juxtaposition, like, we could
fast-forward to '72. Like, there's this
great interview in '72, and one of the
first things he says is, "Well –" 'Cause at this point,
his voice goes more forward than to his face, you know? And, so, then he's like…

"Well, you know — Well, we just
came out here from Memphis." That sort of thing.
-Yeah, it's just coming out — -It comes out of the front of — -It's like
three different characters. It's such a great love letter
to Elvis and any Elvis fan. Dude, ultimate respect. And I was reading
some article about this, and you were saying what kind of
hit home to you is that — his love for his mother. -Yeah, yeah.
-And how he lost his mom. -Yeah. He was —
That was the first thing. 'Cause when I first started
approaching this, I think of Elvis
is always 40 feet tall. He's like —
You can only look up to him. And it's hard to —
in the beginning, to feel anything
but small compared to him. And all those questions —
You know, I'm a shy person. I feel very —
you know, those moments of "Am I enough?" and imposter
syndrome and all those things.

And so it was a process
in the beginning of just trying to find
his humanity. And I tried many things,
but I watched this documentary and I learned
that his mom passed away when he was 23. And that's how old I was
when I lost my mom. And that hit me like
a freight train, because it's
the most human thing, like, that grief that you feel. And I know you've experienced,
you know, that feeling. And that's the thing where
it just humanizes somebody, and you suddenly
don't feel alone in that. And so that became the first
key into finding his humanity. -Yeah.
You just played it perfect.

And you got to — Obviously,
you had to go to Graceland, I'm assuming,
and meet Priscilla and — -That was so surreal. The first time I went, it was
about a month after I was cast. And Baz and I took this road
trip from Nashville to Memphis. And I got to record — The first
recording studio I ever was in was RCA, where Elvis recorded
over 250-something songs. You know, it was insane. And, so,
then we drove to Memphis. -I'm freaking out.
I mean, this is unbelievable. -Also, I was just in Graceland,
and Angie, who runs the spot, she said, "Tell Jimmy,
'cause I know he's a big fan. Tell him
I will show him everything." So take you in
the archives, everything. -Really?
-Yeah, yeah. -'Cause I've not been,
'cause I want to wait for the exact right moment
to go to Graceland. -Oh, you'll get all the hookups. -Really?
-Yeah, for sure. -Someone sent
over this photo of you in the Jungle Room playing —
Is it Elvis' guitar? -Yeah. I still am waiting
for somebody to wake me up. -I mean, wait.
So, how did you end up — -So, this is — Like,
they had wanted me, you know, for social media or something —
they were like, "Well, we'll get you, like,
playing a guitar." And they were gonna
just have me play some random guitar at one point.

I kept putting it off because I'm not a big
social-media person, as well. And then,
when we got to Memphis, they were like,
"We're making you do it." And so they got
some other guitar. And Angie heard that I was
going to be playing a song. And she said,
"What guitar are you playing?" I said,
"Oh, it's a 1937 Epiphone. And she goes,
"Well, I got a '56 Gibson." And I realized
what she was saying. And this is —
I actually didn't know this.

But that guitar is
the guitar he played in "Loving You," "Jailhouse Rock,"
"King Creole." It's also the guitar —
Scotty Moore had it redone. So it's the same guitar he plays
in "That's the Way It Is." It was the same guitar
he plays in Vegas. [ Cheers and applause ]
Yeah. And the last person to play it in the archives
was Paul McCartney. -The last person to play it
was Paul McCartney. I mean, come on.
What is going on? How great is that?
And what was Priscilla like? -Oh, man,
she's just a loveliest person. And when I first met her,
she said very few words, but it was more
looking in her eyes, and you realize,
this is the woman that Elvis fell in love with
all those years ago.

And she still loves him
to this day and she's the mother
of his only child. And it was so surreal. And then —
But she said a couple things. She said,
"You have big shoes to fill." And I said, "I know." Just you feel the pressure. And then she said — And then
she gave me this big hug and she said,
"You have a lot of support." And then that was huge. And then she said, "Have you
been to Graceland yet?" I said, "I'm about to go in
for the first time." And she said, "I truly believe
that's where his spirit is." And then I went over there
for the first time.

And I spent the whole day
in there by myself. And now getting to, you know,
spend time with her and be in the Jungle Room
and, like, be with Lisa Marie, I just — It made me feel like
I was a part of the family. It was so amazing. -Are you a dancer? I'm sorry to ask this,
because — -No, no. -I was like, I don't know
if I've seen you — -No, I wasn't
a singer or a dancer.

-No. But you definitely
dance in this. I mean, you're,
like, a shy person. You wouldn't —
Like, at a party — -I was always a wallflower.
-Really? -Yeah. But that was the thing is
you realize that Elvis wasn't — He didn't do choreography
in the way that Michael did or something like that. He was — It was all
the music moving him. And, obviously,
there are signature things that he did that, you know,
you have to be specific about.

But it was all about the
way that the music moved him. -Could you show me how to move?
-Oh, God. -Again, we…
[ Cheers and applause ] If you can't —
-Alright, alright, get out here. Okay. I haven't done this —
It's been a long time. ♪♪ Alright.
So, this is from the '50s. He had this one
that was really fun. I just called it the sidewinder, 'cause you can kind of —
You can go from walking into a side, you know? It's hard on this carpet. -So, you start here?
-Yeah. -You start here. -Basically,
what you're doing is, like — You know when you
move like this? -Okay. Yeah. -But you're going to put
all your weight on your right foot,
and then your left foot is just going to sort of tap. So, you go to the side first, and then, from there,
you just tap to the side.

But you use this arm
almost like a windmill. -A windmill. Okay. Ready? -And this hand
can be almost like you're holding a cane
or something. -Okay. -So you're kind of
from the side. -That's why he's the best. Come on, bud.
I want to show everyone a clip. Here's Austin Butler in "Elvis."
Take a look at this. [ Cheers and applause ] -♪ Warden threw a party
in the county jail ♪ ♪ The prison band was there,
they began to wail ♪ ♪ The band was jumpin',
and the joint began to swing ♪ ♪ You should've heard them
knocked-out jailbirds sing ♪ ♪ Let's rock ♪ ♪ Everybody, let's rock ♪ ♪ Everybody
in the whole cellblock ♪ ♪ Was dancin' to
the Jailhouse Rock ♪ ♪ Dancin' to
the Jailhouse Rock ♪ -♪ Dancin' to
the Jailhouse Rock ♪ ♪ Dancin' to
the Jailhouse Rock ♪ ♪ Dancin' to
the Jailhouse Rock ♪ -♪ Dancin' ♪ ♪ They were dancin' ♪ ♪ To the Jailhouse Rock ♪ Alright! -Oh, my goodness.
Austin Butler, everybody.

When we come back, Austin and I
are doing something fun. Stick around!.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.