Vanessa Hudgens Finally Got Some Recognition for Predicting Austin Butler's "Elvis" Role Years Ago

Butler confirmed that his ex-girlfriend encouraged him to pursue the role.

Vanessa Hudgens Austin Butler "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" Premiere

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Austin Butler is finally crediting his ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens for manifesting his turn as Elvis Presley in Elvis years before the project (which just snagged an Oscar nomination for Best Picture at the 2023 awards ceremony) was even announced. 

After originally revealing to The Hollywood Reporter that a “friend” pointed out his likeness to Presley and encouraged him to pursue the role if there was ever an opportunity, Butler has since confirmed in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the “friend” in question was actually his former partner of nearly nine years, Hudgens. 

“That's right. I was with my partner at the time,” Butler said, referring to Hudgens without saying her name after being asked to clarify. “[Hudgens and I had] been together for so long, She had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me.”

The clarification comes shortly following Butler’s THR interview, where he recounted the moment when Hudgens first realized he could play the King of Rock and Roll. “The month before I heard that Baz [Luhrmann] was making the movie, I was looking at Christmas lights and there was an Elvis Christmas song on the radio and I was with a friend of mine,” he said. 

“I was singing along and my friend looked over at me and said, 'You gotta play Elvis.' I said, 'Oh, that's such a long shot,” he continued. “A couple of weeks later, I was playing the piano — I never really sang for any of my friends or anything. That same friend was there and I was playing the piano. She said, 'I'm serious. You gotta figure out how you can get the rights to a script.”

Butler added, “Then my agent called and said, 'So Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film.” 

Hudgens also publicly recounted her own version of the event (that matched Butler’s story perfectly) during a 2019 appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan. “He had just dyed his hair dark. He's a natural blond, and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, 'Babe, you need to play Elvis,’” she said at the time.

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