Aside from channeling Elvis Presley’s spirit, Austin Butler had costume designer Catherine Martin (via YouTube) and hair and makeup artist Shane Thomas on hand to truly transform him into the star (via Popsugar). Martin was given the opportunity to work with archivists at Graceland to get the exact measurements of Presley’s jumpsuits, in which they created “a very long chart” to “conceptualize” that aspect of the singer’s career. “You can basically draw from the legacy of Elvis’ costumes, and synthesize a look out of what he actually wore, and imagine what he would’ve worn in this particular scene,” she explained to Vanity Fair (via YouTube).
As for the hair and makeup, Thomas used a combination of Butler’s natural hair and wigs to capture Presley’s perfect locks and used prosthetics to subtly change Butler’s facial structure to match Presley’s over the decades by placing them on his cheekbones, chin, and jawline. For Presley’s final scene on screen, Thomas and the team incorporated fat prosthetics to match the singer’s last performance.
Obviously, much work went into transforming Butler into Presley — personally and as a team. But, unsurprisingly, the actor is struggling to let go of the icon, which is still evident in his voice. “It’s been a slow process,” he told Entertainment Weekly, “but you don’t quite know what to do with yourself after two years of doing nothing else but trying to get inside the mind of another person.”