After “Living” As Elvis Presley Left Him In “Excruciating Pain,” Austin Butler Said Method Acting For “Dune” Would Have Been “Unhealthy” For His “Family And Friends”

After spending years in character as Elvis Presley, Austin said he knew he needed to “protect” others as he embarked on his most villainous role yet.

If there’s one thing we know for sure about Austin Butler, it’s that he’s gonna give his all for a movie role.

Austin in a tailored suit posing at an event

While starring in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Austin stayed in character as the iconic singer for three years, immersing himself so deeply that he had to be hospitalized once the film finished shooting in 2021.

Baz and Austin at an event, Baz and Austin wearing shirts

While promoting Elvis in 2022, Austin memorably kept up the singer’s Southern drawl and shocked fans by revealing some of the unhealthy habits he developed while shooting was underway — like drinking microwaved Häagen-Dazs to gain weight.

Austin in a suit sitting with a microphone onstage

Of course, the hard work definitely paid off, with Austin earning widespread acclaim for the performance, along with his first Oscar nomination. However, that doesn't mean he’d be willing to go to such extremes ever again anytime soon.

Austin in a black outfit at the Elvis premiere pointing toward the camera

Right now, fans are set to see Austin’s biggest transformation yet as he stars alongside Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Florence Pugh in the highly anticipated Dune: Part Two.

Austin with a bald head wearing a detailed leather jacket and looking solemn

Ahead of the film’s release on March 1, Austin and Dune director Denis Villeneuve sat down with the Los Angeles Times to talk about his transformation into the sociopathic Feyd — with Austin revealing that he felt compelled to scale back his Method acting for the benefit of himself and others.

Austin in a black suit, no tie, at media event

In complete contrast to his all-consuming approach to Elvis, Austin said he “made a conscious decision to have a boundary” when cameras weren’t rolling.

Timothée, Zendaya, Austin, and Stellan Skarsgård with Denis at a media event

In response, Denis made it clear that Austin was able to slip into and out of character very easily, describing their experience on set together as “tremendously playful.”

Austin, with a bald head, sticks his tongue out at someone in a dimly lit room

If you’ve seen the trailer for Dune: Part Two, you’ll be forgiven for barely recognizing Austin, who sports a menacing bald-headed look as Feyd. Discussing the appearance, Denis said the “total transformation” unlocked a whole new side of Austin — and got rid of any last remaining parts of Elvis, too.

Close-up of bald Austin with a neutral expression, illuminated against a dark background

For his part, Austin was reluctant to comment too much on the physical transformation so as not to “take the mystery away from it.” Though he did say it was a “gift” to “look in the mirror and not see yourself.”

Austin, in a sleek suit and tie, posing with his hand on his chin, looking at the camera with a subtle smile

You can read the full Los Angeles Times interview with Austin and Denis here. Dune: Part Two hits theaters March 1.

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