Austin Butler hasn't publicly thanked Vanessa Hudgens for inspiring him to play Elvis Presley, the late King of Rock and Roll, but he's been clear that she influenced the career-making decision that led him to star in Baz Luhrmann's epic biopic Elvis, according to Us Weekly after being nominated for an Oscar in January 2023.
Austin, 31, and Vanessa, 34, have both mentioned the incident previously, and he explained how it all came to be. "I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend and heard an Elvis Christmas song on the radio," said Austin, who turned over and said, "You have to play Elvis."
'I never really sang for any of my friends or anything,' he said. That same friend was there and I was playing the piano. She said, 'I'm serious. You have to figure out how to get the rights to a script,' then my agent called and said, 'So Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film.'
Vanessa confirmed the story on a 2019 Live with Kelly and Ryan interview. It would take place just months before the couple's planned split in early 2020. "He's a natural blond, and I was looking at him and he was singing along," she said.
Austin is wise to take the advice. Since winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) on January 10, Elvis's daughter, the late Lisa Marie Presley, and her mother, Priscilla Presley, were all present and touched by Austin's victory.