Austin Butler Reduced His Method Acting for Dune

Austin Butler
Mike Marsland/WireImage

Austin Butler dialed back on method acting when he took on the villainous role of Feyd for Dune: Part Two.

“When the camera was on, it was like you were possessed. When the camera was off, you were still maybe 25 or 30 percent Feyd,” director Denis Villeneuve said to Butler, 32, during a joint interview with the Los Angeles Times published on Thursday, February 22. “Just enough to still be present and focus, but removed enough that you didn’t kill anybody on set.”

Butler explained with past projects he got too deeply involved. This time around, he wanted to take a different approach so it wouldn’t have an “unhealthy” effect on his friends and family. Villeneuve, 56, jokingly included himself in Butler’s inner circle, which the Golden Globe winner agreed.

“So I made a conscious decision to have a boundary,” Butler shared to the outlet. “It allowed for more freedom between action and cut because I knew I was going to protect everybody else outside of the context of what we were doing. That’s not to say that it doesn’t bleed into your life. But I knew that I wasn’t going to do anything dangerous outside of that boundary, and in a way, that allowed me to go deeper.”

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In the highly anticipated sequel, Butler plays Feyd, the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård. Feyd becomes the primary rival of Paul (Timothée Chalamet), who is leading the Fremen into battle.

Butler has been candid about his tendency to absorb the characters he’s portrayed over the years. Most famously, his journey to embody Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 biopic raised eyebrows.

Austin Butler Reduced His Method Acting for Dune

(L-R) Austin Butler, Denis Villeneuve and Dave Bautista on the set of “Dune: Part Two”
Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

The actor spent three years away from his loved ones as he worked on the movie. Butler went so far as to hire a voice coach to help him master Presley’s iconic voice. When Butler had the chance to connect with his friends and family in his off-time he admitted that he was still wrapped up in the character.

“When I did, the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis. I was speaking in his voice the whole time,” he said to Variety in December 2022. “You can lose touch with who you actually are. And I definitely had that when I finished Elvis — not knowing who I was.”

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Butler’s identity crisis carried over long after Elvis premiered. While promoting the movie, many noticed that Butler continued to speak in the same cadence as Presley. As many poked fun at Butler’s accent, he confessed that the attention made him feel self-conscious.

“I thought, ‘Am I being phony? Is this not my voice?’” he reflected during a February 2023 appearance on The Graham Norton Show. “Then I thought, ‘Oh I’d have to think consciously to not talk how I am right now.’ But my voice sounds different when I talk to my dog or when I talk to my dad or when I’m here right now.”

Nearly one year later, Butler revealed he hired a dialect coach to help him shake off his Elvis voice.