Austin Butler Says Taking His “Elvis” Method Approach for “Dune: Part Two” Villain 'Would Be Unhealthy'

Austin Butler says he "made a conscious decision to have a boundary" with his acting on 'Dune: Part Two,' in which he plays a vicious and bloodthirsty villain

<p>Villeneuve Films/Entertainment Pictures/ ; Todd Williamson/NBC/NBC/Getty</p> Austin Butler in

Villeneuve Films/Entertainment Pictures/ ; Todd Williamson/NBC/NBC/Getty

Austin Butler in 'Dune: Part Two'

Austin Butler is sharing why he could not go too overboard with his acting for his Dune: Part Two character.

In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Butler, 32, spoke to his approach to playing the science fiction epic's villain Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen with his director Denis Villeneuve.

"I’ve definitely in the past, with Elvis, explored living within that world for three years and that being the only thing that I think about day and night," Butler shared. "With Feyd, I knew that that would be unhealthy for my family and friends."

Butler gained significant attention for playing Elvis Presley in 2022's Elvis biopic, especially for taking such an intense dedication to the part that he has said "the only thing I was ever thinking about was Elvis" for lengthy periods. Butler also continued to speak with Presley's accent for months even after he finished work on the movie.

"So I made a conscious decision to have a boundary," Butler added after Villeneuve joked that Butler fully absorbing himself in his Dune character would have been unhealthy for the film's director as well.

Related: Austin Butler and Kaia Gerber Hold Hands During Dune: Part Two Premiere Date Night in London

<p>Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures</p> Austin Butler (left) and Lea Seydoux in 'Dune: Part Two'

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures

Austin Butler (left) and Lea Seydoux in 'Dune: Part Two'

"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," Butler said of the part. "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, I think."

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In the second Dune film, Butler plays a new character from the Harkonnen family, who were previously established as bitter enemies of Timothée Chalamet's character Paul Atreides and his family in 2021's Dune: Part One. Feyd-Rautha is the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (played by Stellan Skarsgård); the character was previously portrayed by The Police singer/bassist Sting in 1984's Dune movie.

After Paul survived the Harkonnens' attack on his family and murder of his father (Oscar Isaac) in the series' first movie, the Harkonnens task Feyd-Rautha with tracking down Paul and killing him as he allies with Zendaya's character Chani and the Fremen, as shown in trailers for the upcoming movie.

Related: Austin Butler Recalls 'Having to Choose' Between Top Gun: Maverick Screen Test or 'Saying Yes' to Quentin Tarantino

<p>Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures</p> Austin Butler photographed in Paris on Sept. 26, 2023; Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in 'Dune: Part Two'

Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Austin Butler photographed in Paris on Sept. 26, 2023; Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in 'Dune: Part Two'

"Working with you was tremendously playful. When the camera was on, it was like you were possessed," Villeneuve, 56, said of working with Butler on the new movie. "When the camera was off, you were still maybe 25 or 30% Feyd. Just enough to still be present and focus but removed enough that you didn’t kill anybody on set."

Dune: Part Two releases in theaters on March 1.

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