How a "Cold Call" From Denzel Washington Helped Austin Butler Score Elvis Role

Is Denzel Washington the “king” of casting? Sounds like it.

During a May 12 interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Baz Luhrmann shared how a phone call from the Tragedy of Macbeth actor helped Austin Butler snag the role of Elvis Presley in his upcoming film Elvis

“I received this videotape of this young man in a flood of tears playing ‘Unchained Melody,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, what is that? How is that happening?'” Baz said. “And then I got a call from Denzel Washington, who gave me a cold call. I did not know Denzel. And he said, ‘I’ve just worked with this guy on stage. I’ve never seen a work ethic like it.'”

After speaking to Denzel, the Australian director said he had to go check out Austin for himself. “Honestly, I put him through the ringer, but he lived Elvis,” he told EW. “What he’s managed to do is not do an impersonation, but to live Elvis, to the extent that he’s humanized him.”

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