Tom Hanks Was So Concerned for Austin Butler’s Mental Health After ‘Elvis’ That He Offered Him a Next Role Immediately to Prevent ‘Emotional Whiplash’

With the long “Elvis” awards season behind him, Austin Butler is gearing up for two major upcoming releases: Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part 2” and the Apple TV+ miniseries “Masters of the Air.” The latter comes from executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and serves as the third installment in their long-running World War II saga that also includes the acclaimed “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” In a recent interview with The Times of London, Butler revealed that he nabbed a starring role in “Masters of the Air” after Hanks grew concerned about his mental health on “Elvis.”

According to Butler, Hanks told him: “You have immersed yourself so deeply in ‘Elvis’ that, for your mental health, it would be wise to go straight into something else. If you just jump off the train, you might have emotional whiplash… and, you know, I’ve got this thing I’m producing.’”

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Butler said “Elvis” forced him “to go to the very edge of what is possible, and not every experience will be like that. I don’t think I’ll ever have an experience like that again, but if I have to really dig, it makes me feel alive.”

The 31-year-old actor was nominated for the best actor Oscar thanks to his performance in “Elvis.” He prepped for the role for three years, which included adopting Elvis’ southern drawl. He also drank melted Häagen-Dazs ice cream in order to gain weight for the movie. The actor told GQ magazine last year that his commitment to the role was so immersive that he was diagnosed with a virus that hospitalized him the day after he wrapped production on the music biopic. The virus simulated appendicitis and left Butler bedridden for one week.

“The next day [after filming wrapped] I woke up at four in the morning with excruciating pain, and I was rushed to the hospital,” Butler said. “My body just started shutting down the day after I finished ‘Elvis.’”

“Elvis” is now available to stream on Max.

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