Austin Butler’s three-year transformation to become Elvis Presley for Baz Luhrmann’s biopic has been well-documented. Butler went all-in for the role, so much so, that the 31-year-old could not shake Elvis’ signature voice after filming. Butler’s co-star, Tom Hanks, expressed concern over the emerging star’s mental health and suggested he work on another project.
In an interview with The Times of London, Butler shared how Hanks cast him in Apple’s Masters of the Air as a way to improve his well-being post-Elvis.
“’You have immersed yourself so deeply in ‘Elvis’ that, for your mental health, it would be wise to go straight into something else,’” Butler said Hanks told him. “‘If you just jump off the train, you might have emotional whiplash… and, you know, I’ve got this thing I’m producing.’”
Masters of the Air stems from producers Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman. The trio also produced Band of Brothers and The Pacific, and Masters of the Air is the sequel to both projects.
Based on Donald L. Miller’s 2007 book, Masters of the Air is set in World War II and depicts the heroic actions of the men of the 100th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The Apple TV+ synopsis reads: “During World War II, airmen risk their lives with the 100th Bomb Group, a brotherhood forged by courage, loss, and triumph.”
Butler stars as Major Gale Cleven, alongside Barry Keoghan as Lt. Curtis Biddick and Callum Turner as Major John Egan. The large ensemble cast also features Anthony Boyle as Major Harry Crosby, Nate Mann as Major Robert Rosenthal, and Raff Law as Sgt. Ken Lemmons.
Written by John Orloff, Masters of the Air is produced by Apple Studios, Hanks and Goetzman’s Playtone, and Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Executive producer Cary Joji Fukunaga directed multiple episodes, along with Dee Rees and the duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Masters of the Air is expected to stream on Apple TV+ sometime in 2023.