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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

5 things to know about Austin Butler, who's stepping into Elvis' blue suede shoes

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Austin Butler has been cast as Elvis in a currently untitled biopic of the King of Rock and Roll, which will not only be directed by Baz Luhrmann but also star Tom Hanks as the music legend’s long-time manager, Colonel Tom Parker. After beating out the likes of arguably bigger names, including One Direction’s Harry Styles, The Fault in Our StarsAnsel Elgort, and Whiplash and Fantastic Four star Miles Teller for the role, suspicious minds may be wondering, “Who is this guy?”

While he may not be a household name like some of the others, you’ve likely seen him in something (whether or not you realize it). Before you he gets you all shook up, here are five things to know about the 27-year-old California native.

He was a heartthrob on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel

If Butler looks familiar, it’s possibly because he made the rounds on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel in the 2000s. Although he was never the star of his own show, Butler had his fair share of roles on the channels’ most popular series. To start, he was on 41 episodes of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide as Zippy Brewster (that’s as many episodes as Rob Pinkston’s Coconut Head appeared in!) although Brewster mostly kept to the background. After Ned’s Declassified, Butler started appearing more prominently in shows, more often than not as a love interest, including Hannah Montana, Zoey 101, iCarly, Jonas, and Wizards of Waverly Place. He even starred in a High School Musical spin-off, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

You may recognize his girlfriend…

Even if Butler has grown out of his Disney Channel roots, he has a lot to thank them for. Not only did it launch his acting career, the channel ultimately helped connect him with his long-time girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens. She starred in the HSM franchise; he appeared in the spin-off alongside Ashley Tisdale; Tisdale and Hudgens are close from their HSM days. You do the math. Butler and Hudgens began dating in September 2011, and photos of the two often flood social media as fans pine after a relationship as cute as theirs. 

Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

The CW helped Carrie him into more adult roles

As Butler neared his early twenties, he began to outgrow Disney Channel and Nickelodeon roles. After appearing on The CW’s Life Unexpected and ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, he returned to The CW to play a recurring role on Sex and the City’s prequel series The Carrie Diaries. He played high school-aged Carrie Bradshaw’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Sebastian Kydd for the two seasons the show aired.

Maybe you saw him on Broadway…

Last year, Butler made his Broadway debut in The Iceman Cometh. The show was packed with talent, and Butler was able to work with five-time Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe as well as Tony and Oscar winner Denzel Washington. The show ran for 14 weeks in the spring and summer of 2018.

He’s in not one, but TWO star-studded movies this summer

That’s right. How many can claim they starred in movies alongside Brad PittMargot Robbie, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Bill Murray, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steve Buscemi, and Dakota Fanning, all in a single summer? Austin Butler can! The once-Disney Channel star has moved on to darker things, most recently Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die. Between these two star-studded movies and his casting as Elvis, we can’t help falling in love with Butler.

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