Austin Butler kept the black leather jumpsuit he wears in Elvis
After particularly meaningful or grueling projects, actors love to hang on to a piece of the experience, be it a prop or a costume. For Austin Butler, that was the black leather jumpsuit he wore to recreate Elvis Presley's iconic 1968 TV comeback special. It was a particularly resonant costume for Butler because it was the first sequence and musical number he shot for Elvis.
"That was a big one for me," he tells EW. "It was a monumental time, so I took one of those."
Butler says he has heard stories that they literally had to cut Presley out of the outfit after the performance because his sweat had basically fused the ensemble to his body. Thankfully, Butler didn't contend with any such challenges (which is why it was intact for him to hold onto).
Nor were there any Ross-Gellar-in leather-pants incidents (Butler stares at me blankly when I ask, having never seen the Friends episode in question).
For his preparation to play Presley, Butler says costumes were essential to helping him get into the right headspace. "Clothes change the way that you feel for any character that you play, but never more so than with him, because in the '50s when I'm wearing a lace shirt, you move differently where the pants flow," he says. "When you're in leather pants, you feel a lot different than when you're in flowy '50s pants."
Butler wasn't the only one to collect a souvenir from the set. Director Baz Luhrmann also kept some costume pieces and props, but his most treasured item from the shoot wasn't even onscreen. It was a gag gift from Tom Hanks.
"Every Elvis movie poster ever done, Tom rewrote them with all of these jokes, and had them reproduce it identically," Luhrmann says. "But it'd be like Elvis's body with Austin's head and then 'See Austin Butler like you've never seen him before.' And that was hilarious. [He gave me a new one] once a week. And I had a collection of them on my wall. There's about 15 of them. I cherish those. Tom's just got a way like no other of cohering a team."
Elvis in in theaters now (so you can ogle which costume you would've liked to take home).
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