Butler, who was Oscar-nominated for the title role, told the UK’s Times newspaper that he sat down for dinner with Hanks who told his younger co-star that he needed to dive deep into another role as soon as possible, to prevent “emotional whiplash.”
Butler told The Times that Hanks, who played Colonel Tom Parker in the movie, told him:
“[Hanks] said, ‘You have immersed yourself so deeply in Elvis that, for your mental health, it would be wise to go straight into something else. If you just jump off the train, you might have emotional whiplash…
“’And, you know,’ Hanks continued, ‘I’ve got this thing I’m producing.’”
The fruits of this conversation include Butler’s forthcoming role as Major Gale Cleven in Masters of the Air, the third in the Second World series produced by Hanks with Steven Spielberg, which follows Band of Brothers (2007) and The Pacific (2010). This latest series, which will stream on AppleTV+, follows the actions of the 100th Bombardment Group of the USAF, and is based on a book by Donald L Miller.
Butler will also appear, shaven-headed, in the Dune sequel later this year. As well as an Oscar nomination for Elvis, he received a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for a role that he completely immersed himself in throughout two years of preparation.
Originally a child TV star, Butler got his big break in 2018, appearing on Broadway alongside Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh. Butler told The Times: “That really shifted my career. It was such a challenge, working with an absolute titan.”