Austin Butler "got chills" when he found out that Elvis Presley lost his mother at the same age he did.
The 30-year-old actor - who plays the King of Rock'n'Roll in the Baz Luhrmann biopic that will debut at the Cannes Film Festival after being delayed by Covid-19 - felt he could "connect" to him as both he and the Hound Dog hitmaker had lost their mothers at the young age of 23.
Austin told GQ Hype for their June cover story: "His mother passed away when he was 23, and my mom passed away when I was 23, so when I learned that, it was one of those things where I got chills, and I just thought, Okay, I can connect to that."
To get into character, the Once Upon A Time in Hollywood star thought about the animals that Elvis reminded him of.
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Austin said: "He has catlike things, sort of like when a lion looks out at the prairie."
He added: "There's this quality of an alligator when it comes up from underneath the water.
Austin compared Priscilla Presley - the Can't Help Falling In Love You crooner's first wife, whose marriage lasted from 1967 to 1973 and produced their daughter Lisa Marie Presley, now 54 - to "an angel" when he met her in preparation for the role at Graceland.
On seeing the 77-year-old actress for the first time, he said: "She looked like an angel. I walked down the hall with Baz afterwards with tears in my eyes."
The former The Carrie Diaries star finds it "sad" that the Jailhouse Rock star never got to tour the world - doing his only international show in Canada - despite being one of the most famous performers and loved across the world as he died in 1977, aged 42.
Austin said, "The sad bit about it is that Elvis never got to tour the world. That is a thing that I think a lot of people don't quite realise.
"And that was a big thing that he really wanted to do."