Austin Butler was told Elvis’ “spirit” haunts Graceland by the singer’s ex-wife Priscilla.
The 31-year-old actor – tipped to take home the Best Actor trophy at Sunday’s (12.03.23) 95th Oscars – spent two years obsessively researching and mimicking The King while filming Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 £120 millon epic on the singer and visited the icon’s estate with his former wife and late daughter.
He told a class at LA’s Chapman University ahead of the Academy Awards about taking a trip to Elvis’ estate with his ex-wife Priscilla: “That time was less about the questions and more about trying to feel his energy, trying to feel the humanity of him.
“She took me over to Graceland and said, ‘This is where I believe his spirit is.’
“Then I just got to spend the day in Graceland by myself and sort of sit in different rooms and think, ‘This is where they had Christmas,’ and, ‘This is where he used to sit and eat breakfast’ and just humanise him.”
Austin, who was awarded Best Actor at the Baftas in February, revealed he felt closest to Elvis when communicating with actress Priscilla, 77, and her late daughter Lisa-Marie, killed in January aged 54 by a double-heat attack.
He added: “Just laying eyes on Priscilla for the first time and realising these are the same eyes that looked into Elvis’ eyes all those years ago and fell in love. “You are the mother of his only child, the specialness of that.
“She was so generous and so kind to me. It was just being in her presence really.
“(Lisa Marie and I were) standing in front of each other and we’re looking into each other’s eyes and I felt so much love for her through him in that whole process.
“I’ve never felt closer to someone more quickly than I felt with her.”
Austin has previously said he feels Elvis’ “energy” never died and he would have out-of-body experiences when copying his moves.
He said: “I had many of those moments where whether it was a dream or these sort of out-of-body experience moments or yeah, there’s that thing where energy is neither created nor destroyed and you feel things.
“It’s hard to actually put into language because it’s these really intense feelings So yeah, there were those times. And I welcomed it in as much as I could.”
After he finished shooting ‘Elvis’, Austin – who is dating model Kaia Gerber, 21 – had to be rushed to hospital when his body started “shutting down” from a virus-type illness that had symptoms like appendicitis.