Entertainment Post

Angela Bassett on the Challenges of Fully Immersing in a Character

Angela Bassett

After starring in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis biopic, Angela Bassett, a well-known actress and recent Oscar nominee, can empathize with Austin Butler’s difficulties in losing his Elvis Presley accent.

As Bassett revealed to The New Yorker, she faced similar struggles after playing Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic. 

Bassett, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, acknowledged the challenges of character immersion and the lasting effects it can have on an actor’s performance.

Empathizing with Butler’s current situation, she spoke words of encouragement and reminded him that with time and practice, the accent will eventually wear off. 

“Tina’s laugh and the way she spoke took over. It took over, not as long as Elvis — maybe about four months after,” she stated. “You so lived and breathed and began to see life through their perspective. You had to. They’re a part of you. I think that’s what’s going on with him.”

In the Elvis biopic, Butler plays the King of Rock and Roll and Tom Hanks plays his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The Luhrmann-directed film is set to hit theaters in 2022 and has been highly anticipated by Butler and Presley fans. 

What’s Love Got to Do With It, in which Bassett played Tina Turner, brought her critical acclaim and made her a well-known actress in Hollywood. Her involvement in the role provides a special perspective on the difficulties associated with fully embodying a character and separating oneself from that character after filming is finished.

Different After This Time

“You have to bid it farewell, and it’s hard to let it go, because you’ve enjoyed it, you survived it, you delivered, and you’re proud of that,” she added. 

“You got an opportunity and you hit it out of left field. So it takes a moment to get back to regular you. But you’re different after this moment. Now you’re Austin, who did that great performance.”

Butler continues to try to get rid of his Elvis accent, but it’s comforting to know he’s not alone in his struggles. With the support of fellow actors like Bassett, he’s looking forward to his future roles and the opportunity to fully immerse himself in new characters and storylines. 

Actor Gerard Butler, originally from Anaheim, Calif., has been fully immersed in the persona of Elvis Presley since starring in the 2021 biopic “Elvis.” The film was released last June and since then, Butler has retained Presley’s deep drawl while hosting Saturday Night Live in December and during his Best Actor acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in January. However, Butler recently revealed that he is trying to return to his normal tone after dedicating three years of his life to becoming the “Jailhouse Rock” singer.

During a latest appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Butler explained that he’s actively working to shed the accent he adopted for the role. 

“I am getting rid of the accent, but I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing,” he said. “One song took 40 takes.” 

It’s clear that Butler’s dedication to the role of Elvis Presley was intense, and he underwent extensive training to ensure that he was able to fully embody the King of Rock and Roll.

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A Process So Grueling

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in June, Butler detailed the grueling process of rehearsing with dialect coaches to achieve the perfect Presley voice for the film. 

“It was a lot of work, but it was fun,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with dialect coaches, singing coaches, guitar coaches, piano coaches, movement coaches. We went through every facet of Elvis’ life.” 

Butler’s commitment to the role is admirable, and his efforts paid off in a powerful and emotional performance that accurately captured the essence of the beloved singer.

Despite the challenges of adopting the Presley accent, it’s clear that Butler’s dedication to his craft is unwavering. As he continues to work on his vocal cords and adjust to his normal tone, fans of the actor eagerly anticipate what he’ll tackle next. 

“I would take an interview or a speech that he had on stage where he is talking to the audience, and I would practice it as though I was trying to get it to be exact,” he stated. 

“That way, I couldn’t hear a difference between my voice and his. Then I would have my dialect coach there going, ‘This is off a little bit,’ and I’d practice. I’d just keep honing it in until I could get as specific as possible.”

Whether he’s portraying a legendary musician or taking on a completely new challenge, Butler’s passion and commitment to his craft are sure to shine through in his future performances.

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Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett is a renowned American actress known for her versatility and talent on stage and screen. With a career ranging more than three decades, she has earned critical acclaim for her performances in a variety of roles, ranging from historical figures to fictional characters.

Born on August 16, 1958, in New York City, Bassett grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. She attended Yale University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in African American studies, and then went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Drama at the Yale School of Drama.

Bassett’s breakout role was in the biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” Her performance bagged her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, making her the first African American woman to be nominated in that category. The film remains a classic and is widely considered one of Bassett’s most memorable roles.

Besides her work on the big screen, Bassett has also made her mark on television. She played the role of detective Athena Grant in the hit TV series “9-1-1,” and she has also played roles in a number of other popular shows, including “American Horror Story,” “ER,” and “The Jacksons: An American Dream.”

Throughout her career, Bassett has demonstrated a remarkable range as an actress, portraying a wide variety of characters in both dramatic and comedic roles. 

In 1998, she starred in the critically acclaimed drama “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” opposite Taye Diggs, and in 2018, she appeared in the superhero blockbuster “Black Panther,” which became one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

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