Austin Butler’s “Sweaty Elvis” meme is all over the place this week

Marketing for Baz Luhrmann’s elvis mainly focuses on the young and glamorous era of the title character. A very different photo went viral this week, however. This unflattering picture shows elvis Middle-aged star Austin Butler in prostheses, drenched in sweat and staring into space.

Perhaps understandably, many people find this photo perversely relatable. It’s all over Twitter now, just in time for the intensely sweaty July weather.

As with many biopics, there is a lot of twirling elvis focuses on the protagonist’s obsessive drive to embody an iconic historical figure. While Austin Butler’s appearance doesn’t change for much of the film, he spent months immersing himself in Elvis Presley’s physical mannerisms and singing style, a process that culminated in his being hospitalized for (in Butler’s words) his “Body has been shut down”.

When it came time to film scenes from Elvis’ later years, Butler donned pads and facial prosthetics and said, “I was strapped into the jumpsuit and my lungs felt constricted. I could only breathe shallowly and it was very hot. It felt very claustrophobic and I felt a great sadness because I’m sure Elvis felt the same, that he could hardly breathe.”

Some of that claustrophobic vibe comes through in these photos, which probably explains why the Sweaty Elvis meme ditched. The view from a thousand yards away and the blank wall in the background make Austin Butler look extraordinarily awkward and uncomfortable – the complete opposite of his image in the elvis Trailer and just plain weird enough to be perfect meme fodder.

*Initial publication: July 6, 2022 at 8:12 am CDT

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in science fiction films and superheroes, she also appears as a film and television critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she is the co-host of the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw Austin Butler’s “Sweaty Elvis” meme is all over the place this week

Jaclyn Diaz

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