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Why Did Austin Butler End up in Hospital? Playing Elvis Presley Took a Toll on the Actor

Edduin Carvajal
May 27, 2022
08:40 P.M.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" actor Austin Butler is one of the most promising actors in the entertainment industry, but one of his performances took a toll on him.


Austin Butler stars in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film, "Elvis," a biographical movie about the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Its theatrical release will be on June 24, but it already premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Butler's performance and the film were so outstanding that they got a 12-minute standing ovation. Not everything about Butler's work was positive, though, as he ended up in a hospital because of "Elvis." What happened?

Austin Butler on May 26, 2022 in Cannes, France | Source: Getty Images

Austin Butler on May 26, 2022 in Cannes, France | Source: Getty Images


Born in Anaheim, California, on August 17, 1991, Butler has been involved in the entertainment industry since 2005 when he took minor roles in a few Nickelodeon and Disney Channel projects.


His career skyrocketed after working on Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" opposite A-list actors Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie.

Austin Butler on June 10, 2019 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Austin Butler on June 10, 2019 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Butler broke the internet when he was cast as Elvis Presley in Luhrmann's "Elvis," mainly because of the evident physical similarities between the young actor and the late musician.

His popularity continues to rise, as he will star in the upcoming Apple TV+ series "Masters of the Air." He will also work next to Timothée Chalamet in "Dune: Part Two."



Butler's portrayal of Presley caused such a positive impact at the Cannes Film Festival because he significantly immersed himself into his character (which ultimately backfired).

When Tom Hanks, Colonel Tom Parker in the film, tested positive for coronavirus in early 2020, production for "Elvis" stopped. Instead of returning to Los Angeles, Butler stayed in Australia (where they filmed) and let himself "marinate" into his character.


He filled his room with photos and information about Elvis from different periods and would only listen to his songs or read things related to the late King of Rock and Roll.

Austin Butler and Kaia Gerber are dating.


When they finished shooting the film in March 2021, Butler had gotten himself so deep in his character that his body snapped. He explained:

"The next day, I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to the hospital. My body just started shutting down the day after I finished 'Elvis.'"

Doctors found that he had contracted a virus that simulated appendicitis, so he spent a week bedridden. The role changed him in other ways too – his family told him he didn't sound like himself anymore when he returned to the States.



Butler's successful career has drawn attention to his love life, too. He was in a relationship with "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens from 2011 to 2020. They kept most details of their romance under wraps and didn't share why they parted ways.

Australian actress Olivia DeJonge, Butler's co-star in "Elvis," supposedly dated him for much of 2020, while he and Lily-Rose Depp sparked dating rumors in August 2021.

Nowadays, Butler and Kaia Gerber are dating. They made their red-carpet debut as a couple at 2022's Met Gala after spending Valentine's Day together in London.

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