Elvis Star Austin Butler Explains How Superheroes Inspired the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The late Elvis Presley has served as an inspiration for many and continues to do so even today, but the rock ‘n roll legend had his own heroes as well. One person who was enamored enough with Presley to become him in a movie is Austin Butler, the star of Bas Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis. The film is slated to hit theaters on June 24.

Ahead of the movie’s release, Butler spoke with IGN about the film and touched on some of Presley’s influences. As Butler explains, Presley was a fan of superheroes, particularly that of Captain Marvel Jr., as that’s where he got the idea for how to style his hair. Butler also feels that Presley really resonated with the background stories that so many superheroes have which sees them emerging from great personal struggles to become a phenomenon.

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“It impacted him so much. You look at Captain Marvel Jr., and you see his black hair with the curl coming down. Also, the whole idea of a superhero being somebody who often is coming from nothing or they have this big tragedy that then they are gifted this power that hopefully, I mean superhero is positively impacting other people, so that whole archetype, I mean that’s him. Where he comes from dirt poor, doesn’t even have running water or a toilet in the house, and his father goes to prison at a very young age. He is born in the midst of tragedy, which is his twin brother not being alive when he comes out of his mother’s womb, and then suddenly Elvis is born as this miracle right after Jesse. There’s so many of those themes, that it’s no wonder Elvis really resonated with Captain Marvel Jr., you know?”

Elvis Presley Loved Captain Marvel Jr.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Director Baz Luhrmann also spoke about Elvis Presley’s love for comics. He refers to an interview with Presley where he can be heard mentioning his childhood dreams of becoming a superhero.

“I mean, he says it, there’s some real footage of him, and at the end he says, ‘When I was a kid, I used to read the comic books and dream that I was the superhero in those comic books.'”

Luhrmann also explains how there’s a museum in Tupelo displaying an actual Captain Marvel Jr. comic book Presley owned as a kid, which clearly shows the signs of being “well-worn” from many reads. The director also points out some of the other ways the comic helped influence the late singer’s style.

“You think of the lightning bolt, and you think of the capes that he wore, and I think that there was something of the savior about Elvis. … In a way, he was a superhero, because of what he could do to an audience. Now, sometimes, in the bubble that he was put by the Colonel, that can screw with your head, too.”

Tom Hanks, who plays Colonel Tom Parker in the movie, also feels that “superhero” is a good way of describing Presley. This would be the iconic entertainer’s extraordinary way of capturing the attention of the entire world with the way he performed in a way no other singer could ever duplicate. As Hanks puts it:

“Look, every superhero has very specific powers: x-ray vision, can run fast, has a ring that does magic stuff for him. Elvis had that. Elvis had some brand of superpower that nobody else could imitate.”

Elvis will be released on June 24, 2022.