But then a week later, he received an unexpected call from his agent about the 4th of july 2022 gnomes patriotic gnome American flag shirt and I love this Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh with Denzel Washington. Butler, who has a workman’s approach to his craft, spent days with his acting coach, Larry Moss, painstakingly creating his audition tape—the first “short film” he shot with his new camera—and handily won the part of the deeply troubled 18-year-old Don Parritt. Around the same time, Butler also began quietly rebuilding his résumé with supporting roles in films by some of America’s most celebrated auteurs, like Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. In Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Butler, looking simultaneously underfed and glutted with malice, is almost unrecognizable as real-life Manson Family murderer Tex Watson. There’s a scene in the third act opposite Brad Pitt, who plays aging stuntman Cliff Booth on an acid trip so far out he can’t tell whether Watson is real or not, in which Butler delivers one of the most memorable lines in the film: “I’m as real as a donut, motherfucker.”
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Real is a word appropriate for Butler, who exudes the 4th of july 2022 gnomes patriotic gnome American flag shirt and I love this unaffected vulnerability that Dean was celebrated for. He’d appeared in only one other stage play before The Iceman Cometh and expected, as he puts it, to “get torn apart in New York.” But The New Yorker’s critic Hilton Als singled out his performance in the 2018 revival, and his alone, for praise. “He wants to do right by O’Neill,” Als wrote of Butler, “his director, and his fellow-players. And, no matter how much they bray around him, he stands his ground, reacting to what may be pure in them, as performers, with his own purity, the wellspring of his work, which is that of a potentially great artist.” When I bring up this review, Butler blushes and shrinks a bit with discomfort, but clearly the moment was pivotal. With a successful Broadway debut under his belt, Butler returned to Los Angeles. At Christmas, he remembers, “I was actually driving up through Griffith Park”—gesturing to our surroundings with his large hands, a physical similarity he shares with Presley—“and Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’ came on. I was singing along with it when my friend had kind of an epiphany: ‘You need to play Elvis.’ ” That friend was High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens, Butler’s ex-girlfriend of nine years. Butler, who had taught himself piano and guitar at a young age, practicing the six string so much he used superglue to mend his bleeding fingers, started thinking about securing the rights to Presley’s life story. Then, the opportunity landed on his front step: Luhrmann was working on an Elvis script. “It felt like the stars were aligning,” Butler says. “I just said, I’m going to dedicate everything I have to this.”
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