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Austin Butler is Hollywood's new golden boy

From Disney series to "The Bikeriders," his charm has become his winning weapon

Austin Butler is Hollywood's new golden boy From Disney series to The Bikeriders, his charm has become his winning weapon

There's a scene in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis where the sensual and sexual phenomenon of rockstar Presley is explained. Like the pheromones of Tupelo, Mississippi's talent spreading through the room, causing hearts to fall, the whole audience caught in excitement. It's particularly the female audience that becomes the main victim of the singer's hip-swinging and irresponsible pelvic movements. His seemingly uncoordinated actions, while studying how to overwhelm thousands of crazed fans, are portrayed in the sequence as an innate talent, an uncontrollable sway. Ultimately, the entire biopic by the director of Moulin Rouge! is built around the metaphor of the superhero and his inevitable fall, with the moment of his first concert being when the protagonist reveals his powers to the world, set to the notes of Baby, Let's Play House.

@netflixit Austin Butler in Elvis è: #davedere #cinematok #elvis #netflixitalia original sound - Netflix Italia

Portraying him is Austin Butler, who upon the release of Elvis in 2022 had just been Quentin Tarantino's "the devil" in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood in 2019, and earlier part of Jim Jarmusch's zombie apocalypse in The Dead Don't Die, also released that year. But from the icon of music, almost unable to break free from the role – to the point he revealed seeking help from a diction teacher to find himself – Butler carries with him a gift that seems to be congenital. An enchantment that we couldn't have imagined he possessed during his early Disney appearances, when alongside Ashley Tisdale he starred in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, a spin-off of the High School Musical film series (where he also had a romantic involvement, given his nine-year relationship with Vanessa Hudgens from 2011 to 2020). And perhaps it was difficult to realize even when he began as a regular cast member in more popular series, from the prequel The Carrie Diaries about Carrie Bradshaw before Sex and the City, to the fantasy based on Terry Brooks' novels, The Shannara Chronicles.

Certainly, it can't be said that he hasn't put in his dues, starting on TV in 2005 and moving into film in the following four years, truly exploding only after picking up the guitar, understandably with a work focused on music, another of his interests. But just as the king of rock and roll managed to create his own mythology, Butler seems to have embraced the star quality, using the chameleon-like art of acting – even beyond the diegetic realm – to become exactly what the audience wants from him: Hollywood's new golden boy (sometimes a bit "bad" too). And he does it with a naturalness that, though it may seem fake, constructed, deliberate, fits perfectly with his character in today's star system, both on and off-screen. Choosing to portray sadistic and magnetic villains (Dune 2), uniformed aviators (Masters of the Air), and impertinent, mysterious bikers (The Bikeriders), or simply throwing glances at the crowd, as if he still harbored a hidden residue of Elvis Presley.

@indyefilm TAKE ME FEYD RAUTHA TAKE MEEEEE #feydrautha #feydrauthaedit #austinbutler #austinbutleredit #dune #dune2 #dunemovie #duneparttwo #filmedit #fyp #fy #films #edit feyd rautha effect - INDYEFILM

Among his recent performances, the Roman presentation of Jeff Nichols' film, which debuts on June 19, where Butler, Tom Hardy, and Jodie Comer attend the film's launch with their actor at the Universal premiere on the evening of June 13, at the single-screen Troisi Cinema in Trastevere. The atmosphere is tense exactly like in the sequence of Elvis, though this time the audience, in its own way, knows what to expect. What they didn't think possible is the effect Austin Butler's aura could have on people. More captivating than ever, able to appear casual yet glamorous in a tattered white T-shirt, the actor not only answers questions before the screening of The Bikeriders, but surprises the audience with enchanting greetings and nods. It's when he unexpectedly blows kisses to the audience that a powerful current passes through the spectators. A magnetic field is created, everything is drawn towards Butler, while his winks release an electric shock that spreads throughout the cinema. He knows he's the star, knows exactly what he's embodying. It's a projection, and it doesn't matter if it's true, false, or if those kisses were directed at James Franco, who quietly slipped into the rows in front and watched The Bikeriders with the audience.

@austinaddict Austin Butler Describes His Upbringing with Motorcycles #austinbutler #thebikeriders #newmovie #motorcycles #bikers #bikerboy #benny #BTS #interview #fyp original sound - AustinAddict

With his deep voice and charm pervading the room, Butler's charisma is what holds together Jeff Nichols' somewhat feeble film. Benny, a biker who cares about nothing and no one except his motorcycle, is the heart of the film inspired by Danny Lyon's photobook and interviews about the Outlaws MC club. A shy, silent, enigmatic character, very little is known about Benny from his own words, yet he is the subject of everyone else's conversations. This is how the director and screenwriter envisioned it. Bringing Austin Butler on board means leveraging the actor's shadowy public persona and putting it to use in a story where he is, yet isn't the protagonist. Others tell his story – primarily Comer, in the role of wife Kathy – while he continually evades, remaining closed-off just as others have always seen and experienced him. And, like the audience, everyone falls for him. The leading lady who never imagined herself with a biker, the gang leader who feels admiration, affection, perhaps a hint of envy for his friend (certainly of love). He's the object of desire, the pivot around which those near him whirl. And they did so that evening at the Troisi, when a blend of Austin, Elvis, and Benny floored the audience in the theater. Making the young man, born in '91, the quintessential star, the one who fills the room with his presence, leaving sparks in his wake even as he departs.