Austin Butler blames ‘muscular habits’ for Elvis accent

Austin Butler could use a little less conversation about his post-“Elvis” accent.

Butler, 31, was nominated Tuesday for an Oscar for his role as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic — but instead of his performance, people can’t stop talking about his “cringe” voice.

“It’s funny to me because I don’t even think about it,” Butler told the Los Angeles Times this week about the buzz. “I guess after three years of doing everything that I could to focus on this one goal of trying to bring life to Elvis in this film, I think that there’s certain muscular habits that must pop up.”

“If I was trying to sound like Elvis, I would sound very different right now,” he added. “I think it’s sort of amusing to me how much people want to focus on this one thing.”

The California-born actor likened his time playing the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to people who go abroad and come back sounding different.

Austin Butler poses with the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama award for “Elvis” at the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moët and Chandon

“I’ve had friends who’ve gone and lived in other countries, and they come back and they have a French accent or an Italian accent or something like that, or where they’ve gone and lived in the South for a while and they’ve come back. It’s funny how we have these muscular habits that will pop up in ways that we don’t expect,” he said.

Butler won a Golden Globe this month for his portrayal of the Memphis hitmaker, with critics noting the way he delivered his acceptance speech.

“So especially at the Globes, the first time I’m ever accepting a major award, and if bits of the accent popped up, I mean, what timing,” he explained to the Times.

Butler also addressed the accent backstage at the awards ceremony, insisting the voice is “part of his DNA.”

“I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I must because I hear it a lot,” Butler said at the time.

He also joked about it when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” on Dec. 17.

Austin Butler as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 biopic "Elvis."
Butler was nominated for an Oscar for portraying Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic “Elvis.”

“There’s people out there who say that ever since I played Elvis, my voice has changed,” Butler confessed in his monologue. “That it got deeper, more Elvis-y. But that’s not true. I’ve always sounded like this.”

Butler’s “Elvis” voice coach, Irene Bartlett, also defended the change in his voice.

“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 time on,” she told ABC Gold Coast.

The voice coach even admitted she’s not sure if Butler will ever completely ditch the accent.

“I feel sorry people are saying that, you know, it’s still acting [but] he’s actually taken [the voice] on board,” she said. “I don’t know how long that will last, or if it’s going to be there forever.”