Tom Hanks may be America’s dad, but he specifically set out to make sure “Elvis” co-star Austin Butler was coping well after leading Baz Luhrmann’s operatic biopic.
According to Butler, Hanks helped cast him in the upcoming Apple TV+ limited series “Masters of the Air” to help Butler not have “emotional whiplash” after portraying Elvis Presley.
“‘You have immersed yourself so deeply in “Elvis” that, for your mental health, it would be wise to go straight into something else,’” Butler recalled Hanks telling him during a Times of London interview. “If you just jump off the train, you might have emotional whiplash…and, you know, I’ve got this thing I’m producing.’”
Butler added that “Elvis” made him “go to the very edge of what is possible” transforming into a role.
“Not every experience will be like that,” the Oscar-nominated star said. “I don’t think I’ll ever have an experience like that again, but if I have to really dig, it makes me feel alive.”
Butler previously told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson that he approached playing the King of Rock ‘n Roll in part out of “terror” to find the authenticity.
“With Elvis, I felt this incredible privilege and a heavy responsibility at the same time. Some of the work ethic is wrapped up in terror,” he said. “On a personal level, I knew it was going to demand of me things that I would have to pull out of myself. I would inherently become different by the time I finished. Even performing that type of liberation that Elvis had when he was on stage, I would have to tap into something in myself that that I’ve always been too shy to review. I knew that it was going to change me and that excited me.”
Butler will next appear in Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” in addition to “Masters of the Air.” The series, based on the World War II nonfiction book “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany” by Donald L. Miller, is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Butler’s “Elvis” co-star Hanks as a followup to their work on “The Pacific” and “Band of Brothers.”