Elvis Presley will again be memorialized in movie form when Luhrmann’s “Elvis” hits theatres. The American star, Austin Butler, plays the King and will guide viewers through the star’s life from relative unknown to the most prominent musician on the planet.

While filming some scenes in Elvis’ early life, however, Butler was overcome with emotion after experiencing an essential part of the King’s journey that is often overlooked. During an interview on how filming was going, the interviewer asked Butler about Elvis’ spiritual yearning. The King was a Christian for his entire life and, in his later years, looked into other methods of spirituality, as well.

Butler explained how important gospel music was to Elvis in his formative years. He said, “You know, I think it was an incredible gift us getting to go down to Nashville and record with some of the most amazing gospel singers I’ve ever heard.” The entire experience made him emotional.

Butler recalled attending a place of worship while working and thinking about Elvis. He said, “I remember walking into this little chapel, with all these period microphones, and they’re stamping their feet. I stood in the center, and tears poured down my face and chills down my spine.”

Butler called it a “glorious experience” that was hard not to have in your “marrow.” He went on to add that this profound experience showed him just how much importance Elvis put on religious music.

Butler explained how this way of experiencing and celebrating music inspired Elvis to give off so much expression during his performances. He stated, “It was experiences like that that really showed me how much gospel-influenced Elvis on a musical level, on a spiritual level, on the way he moved, and the freedom of his body.” Butler really became one with Elvis’ memory during filming. He later confessed he had “huge shoes to fill,” but he worked hard to make his voice sound as close to Elvis as possible.

Butler will perform Elvis’ songs during the first chunks of the star’s movie. When the film moves into Elvis’ later life, their two voices will be blended to make something that sounds close to both of them. Butler shared, “I think when I began the process of this, I set out to make my voice identical to his. That was my goal, that if you heard a recording of him and heard a recording of me, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I held that for a long time.”

However, this mindset left him scared over whether he could pull it off. We all know the story of Elvis Presley and how he rose from a country boy to the world’s most recognized musician. However, some may not know how much gospel music influenced The King’s sound. This film differs from the rest of Elvis’ biopics because it shows his rise to stardom and how his faith impacted his life. Elvis Presley may have been a rock and roll star, but in his heart, he was a Christian who loved God. “Elvis” hits theatres this Friday.

 

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