Lisa Marie Presley says Austin Butler 'channeled' her dad in new making of Elvis special
EW can announce a new special edition of 20/20 that will take viewers behind the making of Elvis, coming to ABC on Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Exclusively Elvis: A Special Edition of 20/20 will follow ABC News contributor Chris Connelly as he visits Presley's Memphis home, Graceland, and explores Presley's life and music as it will be retold at the movies.
The special will also feature exclusive interviews with Presley's surviving family, including his daughter Lisa Marie, ex-wife Priscilla, and granddaughter Riley Keough. Key members of the Elvis production team and cast, including Butler, Tom Hanks, and director Baz Luhrmann will also discuss the origins of the film, the shooting experience, and more.
See EW's exclusive clip above in which Butler and Lisa Marie Presley sit down together in the Jungle Room at Graceland to discuss bringing the King to life.
Butler tells Lisa Marie the challenges of trying to portray her father. "Looking at your dad, you watch him onstage and you just go, 'How are you doing that?'" he says. "It's so remarkable, and it's hard not to feel like you're so small in comparison and that you're not enough. And so, for me all those things that I could then find that clicked into his spirit then became the thing that carried me through."
Whatever he did, it worked because Presley has nothing but praise for Butler. "It's almost as if he channeled him," she says in the special. "He put everything he had, his heart, his soul, everything he had into researching, reading, watching, learning. He honored him in every way possible."
The Presley family has been outspoken about their support for Elvis and Butler's portrayal. Lisa Marie and Priscilla both previously shared how emotional the film has made them. Writing on Instagram last month, Lisa Marie said, "If Butler does not win an Oscar for the role, I will eat my own foot. You can feel and witness Baz's pure love, care, and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever."
Though Lurhmann says he never expected or required the support of the Presley family, it has meant the world to him to receive it. "I can't underline enough that no member of the Presley family needs to endorse this film, nor did I have to fulfill any particular direction from them," he tells EW. "They could have liked it, loathed it, whatever. Their response is genuine. And for them to kindly bring us into their house and to say the things they did, I didn't really see coming."
Butler echoes this extraordinary support from the family and how it's fueled him throughout his journey with the film. "I got to meet Priscilla beforehand," he tells EW. "The first day I went to Graceland. It was profound for me. She just gave me a big hug and said, 'You have a lot of support.' Feeling her blessing beforehand [meant so much], because I wanted to make her proud. I wanted to do him justice — for her and for her family and Lisa Marie."
Watch the clip above for more. Elvis hits theaters June 24.
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Austin Butler and Tom Hanks star in this musical biopic about the life of Elvis Presley, specifically his relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker.
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