In preparation for his role in the upcoming Austin Butler biopic, method actor John Rash says he had to dig deep and fully drop any sense of personal identity in the process.
“I was like, ‘Who is Austin Butler, really?’” Rash tells reporters. “And, in answering that question, I realized the answer was ‘an empty vessel for whatever leading role comes next’.”
He then leaned in closer, whispering, “Austin Butler as we know him doesn’t exist. And he hasn’t for a long time.”
Rumors in the industry suggest that Butler himself ceased to exist the moment he went method for his nine-episode run as James in Zooey 101, circa 2007. Since then, Austin Butler has just been constantly building upon fabricated personalities for subsequent roles, including his title role in Baz Luhrman’s Elvis.
“Trying to peel back the layers of Austin is like trying to peel an onion, only to realize halfway through that you’ve been peeling cake the whole time. But then when you take a bite, you realize it isn’t cake, either. It isn’t anything at all. That’s exactly what I’m trying to channel in this role.”
When asked what it was like doing research on Butler, Rash said it felt like trying to “channel the core of a dying star”.
“You just get sucked in,” he said. “Then everything you know or hold dear ceases to exist. There’s nothing real to grab onto. You cease to exist, too.”
At press time, Rash said he was no closer to understanding who Austin Butler truly was, but had decided to base his entire performance on Butler’s minor role as Zippy Brewster in Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.
“The character doesn’t have any lines,” he said. “But I feel like it gets the closest to depicting who Austin Butler truly is.”
It is as of yet unknown if Rash will ever speak again.