ELVIS, MASTERS OF THE AIR and DUNE: PART TWO Star Austin Butler for ESQUIRE Magazine

Posted on February 06, 2024


After ELVIS and the Oscar-nomination, the 32-year-old actor is back with two buzzy projects: MASTERS OF THE AIR and DUNE: PART TWO. He’s got a burning ambition and old-school Hollywood charm—and steely–eyed focus on just one thing. “They Don’t Make Them Like Austin Butler Anymore” by Esquire Digital Director Madison Vain is on Esquire.com now and in the new March issue, available everywhere by February 20.





On Dune: Part Two co-star Florence Pugh getting hit in the face by a projectile at Brazil Comic Con: “They flung it like a Frisbee. I could hear it. It was a friendship bracelet. Wasn’t very friendly.”

On watching the teenybopper titles that helped him get his start: “I know that I would probably cringe if I watched some things, because you’re seeing yourself through the learning process, but that was my schooling. I wouldn’t be here without all of that.”

On riding NYC’s notorious L train home to Brooklyn after his Broadway performances in The Iceman Cometh starring Denzel Washington: “There’s something so beautiful about, at the end of the night, whether you had a great show or an awful show, you got on the subway. I’d go down and take the L out to Williamsburg and, no matter how you felt, humanity washes over you. I loved it.”

On crediting his father for his taste in films: “I have a vivid memory of being five, watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. And then East of Eden and Chinatown when I was seven. Those films really shaped me.”

On the feeling in his house during his childhood: “I remember having really deep thoughts of my own mortality at a very young age. But then moments of feeling very close with my mom. She was a safe space.”

On the experience filming Masters of the Air: “I hardly remember filming that. Almost the full year that I was in London.”

On getting the role of Elvis: “It felt like my entire meaning of my life at that moment was that.”

On being vulnerable: “I like vulnerability. I really value being able to go, ‘All right, let’s bare our souls to each other.’”

On his rumored relationship with Kaia Gerber: “I’m happy.”

On the Internet outrage caused by calling Vanessa Hudgens, his former partner of nine years, a “friend”: “Oh, yeah, I learned a lesson with that one. I felt that I was respecting her privacy in a way and not wanting to bring up a ton of things that would cause her to have to talk. I have so much love and care for her. It was in no way trying to erase anything. I value my own privacy so much. I didn’t want to give up anybody else’s privacy.”

Dune: Part Two co-star Timothée Chalamet on Butler’s work ethic: “I realized it from the first table read, he’s questioning everything. He’s on a mission. He’s on a search. He’s not pretending to be the guy with answers. He’s constantly tinkering. It was motivating.”

On whether he’s considering doing TV again anytime soon: “I’m more drawn to film and theater.”

[Photo Credit: Robbie Fimmano for Esquitre Magazine]

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