Austin Butler, who was just cast as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic, is best known for hunky roles in teen-oriented series like “The Carrie Diaries” and “The Shannara Chronicles.”
But he’s also had some experience singing and playing guitar on screen. In an episode of the short-lived 2012 sitcom “Are You There, Chelsea?” he played an angelic pop star who at one point serenaded Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus), the roommate of Laura Prepon’s Chelsea Handler-like heroine.
Lyrics like “I don’t need a Cadillac car, riding around like a movie star” aren’t very memorable, but Butler holds his own crooning and strumming his guitar.
Turns out the actor, who beat out multiple young male stars to snag the coveted role in Luhrmann’s untitled Warner Bros. film, has considerable musical experience.
He started playing violin at age 9. “And then I transferred that over and started playing the guitar a lot, and I would play so much that my fingers would bleed,” he said in a 2016 interview with Clevver News. “And I would super glue them closed.”
Asked in that same interview if he’d ever consider acting in a movie musical, Butler downplayed the idea. “That’s always been something that I’ve just thought that I would never do,” he said, “because I don’t really sing in public.”
But that’s not something he can avoid for much longer. Luhrmann plans to explore the life and music of Elvis through his complicated relationship with his manager Col. Tom Parker, who will be played by Tom Hanks.
Luhrmann wrote the original script with Craig Pearce, with whom he also wrote “The Great Gatsby” and “Moulin Rouge!” Luhrmann is producing along with his wife Catherine Martin.
Watch Butler’s “Are You There, Chelsea?” performance above.