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This Is How Austin Butler Landed The Role Of Elvis

Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll, equally known for his early heart-throb era and his later years that were full of glitz, glam, Vegas shows and huge appetites. Baz Luhrmann is a director who's known for massive, music-filled visual feasts like "Romeo+Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge." Combine the two, and Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" might just be one of the most fascinating music biopics heading toward the big screen, with actor Austin Butler stepping in the King's shoes.

Though he's appeared in projects like "The Shannara Chronicles" and Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," Butler is a relatively unknown actor. Knowing this, taking on a once-in-a-lifetime part like Elvis Presley seems like a pretty daunting task — especially when your co-star is living screen legend Tom Hanks, who plays Elvis' manager, Colonel Parker. So, how did the actor manage to land the role of Elvis? Let's find out.

Butler impressed everyone with his talent and committment, including Denzel Washington

Playing Elvis in a Baz Luhrmann movie is the kind of role that attracts the attention of pretty much every actor out there, but as GQ tells us, Austin Butler managed to stand out in the sea of hopefuls with his peculiar audition video, which featured a clip of Butler wearing a bathrobe and delivering a rendition of the song "Unchained Melody." Luhrmann wasn't quite sure what to make of this curious approach, but he was intrigued enough to allow Butler to proceed to the next stages of the grand Elvis casting tournament. Butler, of course, ended up getting the role — as well as a surprise assist from a certain legendary actor. 

"I get a phone call out of the blue from Denzel Washington, who I did not know," Luhrmann revealed. "Denzel Washington just said, in the most incredibly emotional and direct way, 'Look, I've just been onstage with this young actor. I'm telling you, his work ethic is unlike anything I've ever seen. I've never seen anyone who devotes every single second of their lives to perfecting a role.'"

The actor Washington praised was naturally Butler, who went on to deliver on what Washington had promised on his behalf. Apparently, he was so good that Luhrmann sometimes found difficult to tell whether the actor was actively playing the role or just happened to be an incredibly Elvis-like guy. What's more, it seems that Butler has already survived the Presley family scrutiny, seeing as Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, has voiced her approval. "Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father's heart & soul beautifully," she tweeted after watching the movie twice.