After becoming Elvis Presley, Austin Butler reveals why he couldn’t do method acting for Dune: Part 2

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Feb 26, 2024 at 04:57 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Austin Butler recently revealed that during the intense three-year preparation for his role in Elvis, he went to such extremes in order to stay in character that he was hospitalised after the film finished filming in 2021. Now, the actor is also sharing insight about his new role in Dune: Part Two, telling news sources that he felt compelled to scale back his method of acting for the benefit of himself and those around him.

During an interview for the Los Angeles Times, the Elvis star disclosed: I’ve definitely in the past, with Elvis, explored living within that world for three years and that being the only thing that I think about day and night. With Feyd, I knew that that would be unhealthy for my family and friends.”

Butler also described how physically gruelling the process of preparing for this role was: “Yeah, I mean, [my trainer] basically just worked me until I would throw up every time.” The dedicated actor collaborated with Duffy Gaver, a fitness expert renowned for his work with Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Thor films. Gaver, a former Navy SEAL who trained Brad Pitt for Troy, is known for his relentless approach to fitness.

Butler continued: “You’re just going, and you’re like, ‘How many of these am I going to do?’ And once you get to the point where you’re dying and you can hardly do another, he goes ‘Alright, do ten more’.”

In Dune: Part Two, Butler’s character, Feyd-Rautha, undergoes a significant transformation from his previous portrayal. In this iteration of the film, Feyd-Rautha appears as a ghostly, hairless killer with psychotic ruthlessness and an ambition to rule the desert planet Arrakis.

Further discussing his preparation for the character, Butler explained: “It was about finding the brutality and making him as vicious as possible. I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what it would be like to grow up in that environment with the Baron as your father figure. Learning about cultures throughout time that have had this brutality brought it to a human place where I realised ‘I’m not just playing someone you can write off as psychotic and evil.’ I had to see through his eyes.”

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While discussing the actor’s drastic physical transformation for the role, director Denis Villeneuve dismissed concerns about his recognisability, stating: “It was a total transformation. He looks nice and gentle now. But when the camera was on him, his aura was shifting, his eyes were different, and his voice was different. When the camera was on, it was like you were possessed. When the camera was off, you were still maybe 25 or 30 per cent Feyd.”

The trailer for Dune: Part Two showcases Butler’s dramatic transformation into Feyd, the director even emphasises how Butler’s interpretation looked like the discovery of “a new animal.” For the critically acclaimed actor, this physical metamorphosis was a gift, providing a unique perspective when looking in the mirror.

Not sure about you, but I’m now even more eager to watch this new upcoming movie! Get your popcorn, ciao!

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