Angela Bassett Thinks It’s Time For Austin Butler To Bid The Elvis Voice ‘Farewell,’ And Explains Why He Might Still Have It

From left to right: Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Austin Butler as Elvis in Elvis.
(Image credit: Marvel and Warner Bros.)

The Elvis voice has become quite the point of conversation this awards season. Many, including Austin Butler, have weighed in on why and if he still talks like the titular rockstar he played. Now, another actor on the 2023 Oscar nominee list is giving her two cents on the matter. Angela Bassett has also played a music icon with a distinct voice, and she explained that while she understands why her fellow nominee hasn’t lost his accent, it’s possible, and you have to  “bid it farewell” at some point.  

Following her nomination for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Bassett was reflecting on her career with The New Yorker, and she spoke about the time she played Tina Turner. The journalist brought up Austin Butler and Elvis considering he’s also a nominee, and how both actors had to do a lot of work on their accents. The actress reflected on her time playing Turner, and how hard it was to lose her accent. She sympathized with Butler, and how he hasn’t lost his accent yet, saying:

It absolutely did. Tina’s laugh and the way she spoke took over. [She lets out a high, squeaky Tina Turner laugh.] It took over, not as long as Elvis—maybe about four months after. You so lived and breathed and began to see life through their perspective. You had to. They’re a part of you. I think that’s what’s going on with him. You have to bid it farewell, and it’s hard to let it go, because you’ve enjoyed it, you survived it, you delivered, and you’re proud of that. You got an opportunity and you hit it out of left field. So it takes a moment to get back to regular you. But you’re different after this moment. Now you’re Austin, who did that great performance.

I totally get why Bassett is able to relate so deeply to what Butler is going through, and also why she seemed fairly adamant that he needs to let it go at some point. She played Turner in the 1993 movie What’s Love Got to Do with It. This served as a pivotal moment in her career as she went on to win a Golden Globe for her performance and nab her first Oscar nod, sound familiar? It should, because Austin Butler has gone through essentially the same thing this year. 

Considering how distinct Elvis’ voice is, admittedly it’s a bit odd that Butler is still talking like The King. However, he also lived in the role for three years while making the movie. So, when you use an accent for so long, as he’s said, it naturally becomes a part of you. 

While Butler has been on the awards circuit and still seems to have the Elvis accent, it’s been confirmed he’s not using it on his upcoming project. His Dune: Part Two co-star Dave Bautista explained the Elvis voice is not used in the highly anticipated sequel on the 2023 movie schedule. So, he may be using it now, but it won't be present on the big screen the next time we see him acting.

So, it sounds like the accent might be on its way out, and as Bassett said, Butler seems to be bidding it farewell.

If you would like to see why Butler has the voice he has now and an Oscar nomination, you can stream Elvis with an HBO Max subscription. You can also check out Angela Bassett’s performance that earned her a historic Academy Award nod by watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with a Disney+ subscription.

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.