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Austin Butler Needed a Dialect Coach to Remove ‘Elvis’ Accent Before Filming ‘Masters of the Air’

Austin Butler Used Dialect Coach to Lose His Elvis Accent
Mike Marsland/WireImage

Austin Butler needed professional help to shake off his Elvis accent before filming his new Apple TV+ series, Masters of the Air.

Butler, 32, explained during a Wednesday, January 24, interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that he filmed the World War II drama right after finishing Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, which hit theaters in 2022.

“I started a week after,” Butler explained. “It was almost too fast. … I was just trying to remember who I was. I was trying to remember what I liked to do.”

Part of finding himself again involved shaking off Elvis Presley’s signature voice, which Butler worked hard to perfect while filming the biopic. “I had a dialect coach just to help me not sound like Elvis,” he added, noting that he spent three years embodying the legendary rock star.

Austin Butler Used Dialect Coach to Lose His Elvis Accent

Butler’s accent became a hot topic after he continued speaking like Presley long after completing work on Elvis. “It really made me feel self-conscious for a second because I thought, ‘Am I being phony? Is this not my voice?’” Butler said during a February 2023 appearance on The Graham Norton Show. “Then I thought, ‘Oh, I’d have to think consciously to not talk how I am right now.’ But my voice sounds different when I talk to my dog or when I talk to my dad or when I’m here right now.”

One month earlier, Butler’s Elvis voice coach, Irene Bartlett, defended the actor’s lingering accent. “Because of COVID shutdowns, he was working on it all the time, and it’s difficult to switch off something you’ve spent so much focus [and] time on,” she said during a January 2023 interview with Gold Coast.

Everything Austin Butler Has Said About Changing His Voice for ‘Elvis’ -392

Related: What Austin Butler Has Said About His ‘Elvis’ Voice

She also referenced Butler’s Golden Globes speech, which caused many online critics to wonder whether he was intentionally still speaking like Presley. “What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that’s him. It’s genuine, it’s not put on,” she said. “I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board. I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”

Despite the jokes, Butler’s performance impressed Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, who was married to the singer from 1967 to 1973. “I remember Priscilla said, ‘I know I was hard on you,’” Luhrmann, 61, told Entertainment Tonight in February 2023, adding that Priscilla, 78, wrote him an email praising Butler’s performance after seeing the movie. “She said, ‘Every wink, every move, if my husband was here he would say, ‘Hot damn, you are me!’ She said, ‘How did he know about Elvis’ rage, his stillness, his inner life, his complex inner life? Because that’s not out there. That’s not in a biography.’”

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