Why Elvis Actor Austin Butler Was Hospitalized After Wrapping The Baz Luhrmann Movie

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Although Baz Lurhmann ventured into the TV realm several years back to make the short-lived Netflix series The Get Down, he hasn’t delivered a movie since 2013’s The Great Gatsby. That nearly-decade-long hiatus finally ends this summer with the release of Elvis, which stars Austin Butler as the title King of Rock ’n Roll. Elvis began filming in January 2020, and because of delays caused by COVID-19, didn’t finish rolling cameras until March 2021. Once the Lurhmann-helmed movie wrapped though, Butler was hospitalized soon after.

Austin Butler revealed this while speaking with GQ, saying that he’d given so much of himself physically to the role of Elvis Presley that his body “revolted” once principal photography was completed. The actor explained:

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

Once at the hospital, Austin Butler was diagnosed with a virus that simulates appendicitis, and he spent a week stuck in bed. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like these health issues persisted afterwards, and over a year after Elvis finished filming, Butler appears to be in good spirits. Nevertheless, this was an unfortunate way to end his time playing the music icon, especially considering that Butler was cast as Elvis Presley in July 2019, meaning by the time shooting completed, the actor had been connected to the role for over a year and a half. By the time Elvis hits theaters, almost three full years will have passed since he came aboard.

Austin Butler reportedly beat out folks like Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Harry Styles to play Elvis Presley, and it turns out that Denzel Washington played a big part in Butler scoring the role. While the public is still a month away from getting to see Elvis, Butler’s performance has earned major praise from Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley’s ex-wife, who called Butler “outstanding” in the role. You can get a taste of what Butler brought to the proverbial table by watching the first Elvis trailer below.

Among the other actors joining Austin Butler in Elvis is Tom Hanks, who’s playing Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Hanks also has experience dealing with health issues while working Elvis, as he tested positive COVID-19, as did his wife Rita Wilson, back in March 2020, which led to filming in Australia being suspended until the following September. Elvis’ extensive cast also includes Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge and Luke Bracey. In addition to his directing duties, Baz Luhrmann contributed to the script alongside Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner.

Elvis opens wide on June 24, and looking further into the future, Austin Butler has been tapped to Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two, which comes out on October 20, 2023. Use our 2022 movie releases guide to keep track of the other movies coming out this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.