Actor Austin Butler initially didn’t think he had anything in common with legendary crooner Elvis Presley.
But after a deep dive into the personal life of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the 30-year-old actor discovered a heartbreaking detail that eventually linked him to the role in the upcoming biopic.
Butler appeared on Today with Hoda and Jenna on Thursday and revealed that he initially struggled to tap into the character.
“When you first look at Elvis, he feels so much bigger than life and you look at him as a divine figure or a caricature of Elvis, and that’s where I fell in the first month trying to work on it,” Butler said. .
It wasn’t until he learned that he and the hitmaker “Hound Dog” both lost their mothers when they were 23 that he was able to fully connect and understand the crooner mentality.
“When I heard about his mother — and then knowing we were the exact same age — it just hit me,” he explained. “It was just one of those things where you know the stars align and that just became the most personal.”
Butler tragically lost his mother, Lori Butler, in 2014 after losing her battle with cancer, he revealed to Vogue in April.
Elvis lost his mother, Gladys Presley, in 1958 when she died of a heart attack.
Earlier this month, the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann, said Butler was simply born to play the part.
“You know, we can talk about it now, he’s losing his mother at the same age as Elvis,” Luhrmann said of Butler.
Butler admitted to cutting himself off from the rest of the world in a desperate attempt to surrender to the part.
“I’ve actually put the rest of my life on hiatus for two years,” Butler said last month at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film premiered. “I just absorbed everything I could.”