Actors on Actors: Janelle Monáe + Austin Butler

Mar 8, 2023 | Articles

By Daniel D’Addario | Variety

Austin Butler transformed into a music icon this year, taking on the presence and the swagger of the King in Baz Luhrmann’s electrifying “Elvis.” And Janelle Monáe made the reverse journey, continuing her reinvention from futuristic pop diva to multi-hyphenate actor with a meaty (and mysterious) central role as a tech entrepreneur in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

Janelle Monáe: Being someone who has toured for many years, making it your own is no small thing. I know a little bit about what that takes. You played Elvis when he was a teenager, all the way up to his passing.

Austin Butler: That was one of the challenges of it, because we were shooting out of sequence.

Monáe: Was there a lot of prosthetics? Did you have to lose weight and gain weight?

Butler: Initially, Baz said we could film it in sequence. “Well, OK, I can take a break and gain the weight.” But with COVID, the whole schedule got turned upside down. We ended up working a lot with finding subtle ways that you can age. Elvis ended up experiencing a lot of pain in his knees, in his back, and I felt that completely.

Monáe: You did his comeback performance first.

Read the full conversation here as part of Variety’s Actors on Actors, presented by Amazon Studios.