Elvis Presley and Austin Butler Share This Divine 'Spiritual' Bond Says 'Elvis' Director

Similarities between Elvis Presley and Austin Butler, who portrays The King of Rock and Roll in Elvis, abound. The twosome experienced similar life losses that have created a bond between the actor and the legendary singer. However, there appears to be an even deeper bond between the men says Elvis director Baz Luhrmann, one that goes way beyond any personal similarities and connects Butler and Presley on a spiritual level.

Elvis Presley and Austin Butler both suffered similar heartbreaking losses

In an interview with Vogue Magazine, Butler revealed that in 2014, he lost his mother and “best friend” Lori to cancer.

At the same, age, 23, Presley lost his mother, Gladys, to a heart attack.

Butler spoke of this parallel between himself and Presley.

“I’d been watching all these documentaries and learned a couple of days prior that Elvis’s mom had died when he was 23, the same as me,” Butler said. “I thought he probably had nights where he woke up from nightmares. So what can I do with that?”

This realization came on the heels of Butler listening to Presley’s entire song catalog in chronological order while painting his home. It was then he first taped an audition for Luhrmann where he performed a version of Presley’s 1977 hit “Unchained Melody.”

However, his performance stopped Luhrmann in his tracks.

“Was it an audition? Or was he having a breakdown?” Luhrmann said in an interview with GQ.

‘Elvis’ director Baz Luhrmann said Elvis Presley and Austin Butler shared this ‘spiritual’ quality

Much ado has been made regarding Elvis Presley’s spirituality.

A scene featured in the first Elvis trailer shows Presley attending a church service as a young man. He’s moved by the music and the words of the choir in the clip.

In real life, the King of Rock and Roll collected books on religion and spirituality. These books remain in Presley’s private Graceland quarters.

Presley was raised Pentecostal. However, he developed a love for Southern gospel music as a young man. In his later years, Presley wore both a cross and a Star of David hanging from a chain on his neck.

“All I want is to know the truth, to know and experience God. I’m a searcher, that’s what I’m all about,” Presley reportedly told a friend in the book written by Gary Tillery titled The Seeker King.

However, in an interview with GQ, Luhrmann said the connections between Butler and Presley went far beyond how the actor portrayed the King of Rock and Roll in the film.

“Elvis was an intensely spiritual person,” Lurhmann deduced. He claimed that Butler shared the same similar quality.

“And I think Austin has a real spiritual quality to him. He has a very sensitive and big inner life. He’s very lovely on the outside, but you know there’s deep thinking going on on the inside.”

Butler is grateful for the Presley family’s response to the film

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In an interview with The New York Times, Butler subsequently revealed that the positive response from Presley’s only daughter, Lisa Marie, “brought me to tears.”  

“I want everybody to love the film, obviously, but the pressure I have really felt is doing justice to Elvis,” Butler explained. 

Lisa Marie reportedly saw the film twice. She declared Butler’s performance to be “nothing short of spectacular” and “absolutely exquisite.”  

In an Instagram post, Lisa Marie wrote, “Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully. In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully,” the entertainer continued.”

Elvis’ wife, Priscilla Presley, also praised Butler’s performance.

She has shown her support for Elvis by appearing with the cast at The Met Gala in New York City and The Cannes Film Festival in France, where the movie made its worldwide debut.

Priscilla tweeted her thoughts about the film.

“The story is about Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker’s relationship. It’s a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered. Austin Butler, who played Elvis is outstanding,” Priscilla wrote.

“Halfway through the film Jerry and I looked at each other and said WOW!!! Bravo to him. He knew he had big shoes to fill. He was extremely nervous playing this part; I can only imagine. What a character he was.”

The motion picture Elvis debuts in theaters on June 24.

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