Austin Butler presents the award for Excellence in Contemporary Film onstage at the 25th Costume Des...

Austin Butler Explained Why Awards Shows Make Him Talk Like Elvis

"Being in large groups is not my most comfortable place."

Gilbert Flores/Variety/Getty Images

There’s a reason Austin Butler has sounded a bit... different lately. Throughout the awards season for his 2022 biopic Elvis, people have become convinced he is still speaking in the deep Southern drawl he used in the movie. Though Butler himself doesn’t think he still sounds like Elvis Presley, he did open up about why he leans on his Elvis characterizations when he’s in uncomfortable situations, like delivering acceptance speeches at awards shows.

The fascination with Butler’s voice began when he won the Best Actor trophy at the Golden Globes on Jan. 10. Viewers remarked that Butler still sounded like Elvis while giving his speech, even though the movie wrapped filming nearly two years prior. Since then, every public appearance Butler’s made has resulted in more and more people talking about his noticeably huskier voice. Butler himself has described the intense filming process that had a lot of focus on nailing Presley’s accent, and shared that he’s probably damaged his vocal cords from doing the voice so much. His Elvis vocal coach has said Butler’s deeper voice at awards shows is just how he sounds now.

Despite all the chatter, Butler doesn’t think he sounds like Elvis anymore. “If I was trying to sound like Elvis, I would sound very different,” he said in a March 1 profile for The Wrap.

Gilbert Flores/Variety/Getty Images

But he also admitted that he tends to channel Presley whenever he needs to cope with his social anxiety, which might be why people can hear the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in his voice in nerve-racking situations like awards shows and interviews.

“Something like being onstage was a terrifying thing to me as Austin,” Butler said. “But when I was able to live within Elvis, it gave me a way to channel that fear. And I also get social anxiety — being in large groups is not my most comfortable place. So having a way of tapping into his energy helps, and that might be the reason it gets brought up again and again. I’m usually in an environment where I’m having to tap into him. It’s almost like tools on a tool belt — I’ve got bits of Elvis that unconsciously make me feel comfortable. He’s always with me.”