Austin Butler had to choose between Top Gun: Maverick and working with Quentin Tarantino

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis
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Austin Butler has revealed that he was in the running to appear in Top Gun: Maverick but was forced to choose between that film and Quentin Tarantino. More here. 

What if Austin Butler played Rooster in Top Gun: Maverick instead of Miles Teller? Well, that very nearly happened. 

Appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to promote his new AppleTV+ series Masters Of The Air (out today!), Butler revealed that he was due to audition for Joseph Kosinski’s mammoth sequel.

But at the same time, Quentin Tarantino offered Butler the chance to appear in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. 

“I ended up having to choose between going to the screen test for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ or saying yes to Quentin Tarantino,” Butler reminisced on the podcast. 

Butler made the right choice. Variety reports that he would have lost the race against Teller anyway, as Butler was deemed too young for the part. The lost audition also led to Butler being cast in Luhrmann’s Elvis for which he received an Oscar nomination. Both films had the same casting director. 

“The thing that he got the closest to was ‘Top Gun,’” casting director Denise Chamian told Variety. “When I cast that, we were looking for the role that Miles Teller played. I felt so passionate about Austin. Ultimately, his audition was shown to Tom and all the filmmakers. They agreed he had something and they were happy to know him, but they thought he was too young.”

Butler memorably played a member of Charles Manson’s cult in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Even more memorably, his character gets bit in the gonads by Brandy the dog. If going from having your balls bitten off on-screen to receiving an Oscar nomination for playing the King of Rock and Roll isn’t the ultimate American dream, I don’t know what is. 

Top Gun: Maverick ended up being a massive success and a third part is already in the works with Tom Cruise returning to the cockpit.

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