After casting considerations that included Harry Styles, Miles Teller, and more of your famous boyfriends, Romeo + Juliet director Baz Luhrmann has found the right leading man to play the king of rock n' roll in a new biopic. Get ready to see him shake his hips and pout his pillowy lips, because Austin Butler is officially our Elvis Presley.
Butler's name was one of five actors on the shortlist for the character, but not necessarily the frontrunner in the minds of fans. Of all the stars on the list, which also included Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Baby Driver's Ansel Elgort, Butler's was perhaps the least high-profile choice. According to Variety, the actor was put through multiple screen tests in full hair and makeup before he landed the role.
Though he hasn't yet had a breakout film role like Teller in Whiplash or Elgort in The Fault In Our Stars, Butler is hardly a newcomer to the industry. He has been working steadily for years in TV. Butler started on tween shows like Zoey 101 and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, before moving onto teen heartthrob roles on Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, Life Unexpected, and The Shannara Chronicles. He'll next play Manson family member Tex Watson in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
However, it wasn't Butler's screen work that led Butler to Elvis, but Broadway.
"I knew I couldn't make this film if the casting wasn't absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist," Luhrmann said in a statement to Deadline. "Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his standout role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world's most iconic musical figures."
Some fans were skeptical of the casting news.
Others were thrilled that their dark horse beat out the A-listers. Many pointed out that Butler most closely resembles Presley. (You can look past his hair color and notice those lips, right?!?)
However, no one was as excited for this casting news as Vanessa Hudgens, Butler's longtime girlfriend.
"I AMMMM OVERRRR THE FUCKING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT," Hudgens wrote on Instagram. "SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!"
Suspicious minds may be wary of Butler, but maybe we should all take a page from Hudgens’ enthusiastic reaction. After all, when has Luhrmann’s casting ever gone wrong?