Austin Butler

Austin Butler before he was Austin Butler
Film+TV | 10 April 2024
This article is part of HERO Vault – Gems from back in time

Digging through the HERO Archive, we found a super early interview with megastar Austin Butler: before Dune, before Easyriders, before Elvis. Before it all, Austin Butler was an aspiring actor chatting about Dalí, Arnold Schwarzenegger and scuba diving.

Delcan Higgins: Hey Austin.
Austin Butler: Hey there, how’s it going?

DH: Yeah not too bad, ta. You?
AB: Very well, just in sunny California right now.

DH: What have you been up to today?
AB: Today? Well with the weekend off I think I’m going to go on a hike with a buddy of mine, we might go shoot some hoops.

DH. A basketball fan! What team do you support?
AB: I used to only be a Lakers fan but now I’m a Lakers and a Knicks fan, after being in New York for so long I went to so many Knicks games that I became a Knicks fan.

DH: What makes New York so good?
AB: The fact that you can do so much, you can do anything you want within such a relatively small space. You could go to a museum and then to a live concert and then to an amazing restaurant late at night, I just love all that.

DH: Do you drive when you’re there?
AB: Well in LA I do, yeah but not in New York.

DH: What car?
AB: A Prius.

DH: Very environmentally friendly. Right, down to business, are you enjoying doing The Carrie Diaries?
AB: Very much. The group of people I’m working with – from the creators of the show to the actors and the crew – is one of the best I’ve ever worked with.

DH: Off camera, what’s your relationship like with Anna Sophia Robb?
AB: We get on very well, she’s a super sweet girl, just a really real person. We just sort of goof around on set and have a really good time.

DH: Does working with a young cast remind you of being at school?
AB: I had an interesting school experience because I went to public school until I was about twelve or thirteen and then I started home schooling. Then when I was fifteen I tested out a school and just because of acting it was really hard to do school at the same time. I have continued to do sort of private schooling on my own but I never had that high school experience really.

DH: You would have bossed it, do you not wish you did?
AB: I don’t know, a lot of high school experiences sound kind of traumatic! I’m glad I never had to go through that; thankfully I was working with a lot of people my age and other really cool people who were passionate about what they did. There was no bullying or anything like that like apart from actors in an audition room and people trying to intimidate you.

DH: Ugh, that sounds grim.
AB: Yeah, you get used to it.

DH: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned whilst acting?
AB: I guess not to take anything personally. That helps so much in life too because it sucks in the audition room when you don’t get a part and then your initial reaction is to take it very personally like, ‘it’s the way that I look or what I did’. I guess not to take anything personally. That helps so much in life too.

DH: It isn’t going to be down to your looks! You are in such good shape. How do you maintain that physique?
AB: Well thank you! I’ve actually been doing a lot of active things lately because I used to just go to the gym but it gets boring after a while so I’ve been boxing quite a lot.

DH: Which actor would you least like to box with?
AB: Probably Tom Hardy.

DH: I reckon that would be pretty scary.
AB: Yeah Tom Hardy is a scary dude. Like I love him, he is amazing but in Bronson… Have you seen that movie?

DH: Yeah.
AB: Oh my god, he is unbelievable. I would not want to fight him.

DH: How would you describe your dress sense?
AB: Guys like Paul Newman, James Dean, Marlon Brando then adding a sort of modern edge – super classy guys that just dress well.

DH: Your girlfriend is also quite a style icon…
AB: Yeah! She’s fabulous. She had her premiere for Spring Breakers last night and she looked amazing.

DH: You released a few songs in your early days, can we be expecting an album soon?
AB: I love singing. It’s something that I’ve always been shy about but I love to play the guitar, the piano and I have played those for years. I’ll sing while I write on them and so it has just turned into something that I do.

DH: What kind of music are you into?
AB: I love such a wide variety. My favourites are probably The Beatles and Radiohead but I also love Macklemore and the new rappers.

DH: There’s a few British choices there…
AB: Yeah I love British music!

DH: Would you ever live in England?
AB: Oh man, yeah, I love England. I haven’t got to spend as much time there as I’d like to. The people are so lovely, the culture is amazing, the history that you guys have is unbelievable, so yeah I’d love to if I had the opportunity.

DH: Where would be the first place you’d visit?
AB: In England? You know I went to this Salvador Dalí exhibition…

DH: At The Tate Modern?
AB: Yeah! So awesome. That was my first Dalí, now I have gone all over the world to different exhibitions and museums featuring his work.

DH: Have you been to the one in Paris at the moment?
AB: Yeah I went, I really liked that one.

DH: How do your parents feel about you becoming so famous?
AB: I think they’re really happy with the fact that I have a job and I have found a certain level of success with it. They put so much into it, driving me to so many auditions when I was younger, I would be nowhere without them.

DH: So if you weren’t acting what do you reckon you’d be doing?
AB: I made this trip down to Costa Rica and walking through this little hippy community they had this open-mic night whilst the sun was setting. We were in the middle of the rainforest and there was just all these guys getting up on stage and playing their guitars. I figured if I wasn’t acting and had enough money to just move down there, live in a hut and play open-mic nights that would be my dream.

DH: Who were you with?
AB: I was with a special girl.

DH: She’s pretty famous. Have you ever been starstruck by anyone?
AB: Oh yeah man, when I was growing up Arnold Schwarzenegger was my hero and I did this thing once where I played guitar on stage at The Globe Mall Christmas opening and he was there. After the concert he was walking past and I was super starstruck.

DH: What happened?
AB: I just wanted to meet him so I went up and was like, ‘hey I’m such a huge fan’ and shook his hand.

DH: Big hands?
AB: Really big.

DH: If you had to tell me one thing about yourself I won’t find on Google what would it be?
AB: Wow that’s a hard question, the fact that I am a certified scuba diver?

DH: Do you go scuba diving often?
AB: I don’t get to go as much as I’d like to, I got certified when I was about fourteen or fifteen on a trip with my dad. He’s certified too.


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