Austin Butler is not only an Oscar nominee—for his performance as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s chaotic biographical film Elvis—he’s the front runner in his category. In a profile with Vanity Fair, which includes photos of the actor wearing a shining leather trench coat, a silver medallion necklace, and oversize sunglasses, Butler opened up about how far he’s come since his days as a child actor, when he appeared on Disney Channel shows with Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.
“When I was filming Elvis,” the actor said, “Selena found this photograph of the two of us when I did a guest-star thing on her show Wizards of Waverly Place. And she sends it to me, just going, ‘Wow, remember this?’ It feels like another life. When you’re a child actor, you see so many people come in from Texas or something, and at a certain point they may quit or go back. We’re just so fortunate to have careers in this industry for this amount of time.”
Butler did, in fact, guest-star in an episode of the beloved Disney Channel show over a decade before his voice became Elvis’s (RIP). Per IMDb, Butler played George in a 2010 episode titled “Positive Alex.” Butler appeared on a few other kids’ show in his early career, including Hannah Montana, Ned’s Declassified Survival Guide, iCarly, and Zoey 101. Here’s a pic from the aforementioned episode of Waverly Place:
Butler also told VF that he’s always looked up to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s career. “Every film that he chose, you could see the level of passion that he still had for the work,” he told the outlet. “And that’s been a surreal thing, looking back at what my dreams were when I was 15, and then getting to work with the people that he got to work with, getting to be on set with him. There’s a lot of these pinch-me moments in my life and that’s definitely one of them.”
If Austin Butler trying emulate DiCaprio‘s success, he’s doing a great job. Hopefully, unlike DiCaprio, he won’t have to wait years and years to get his first Oscar.