Austin Butler could have been a contender for Hannah Montana’s heart.
The “Elvis” Golden Globe winner reflected on the intensity he would bring to Disney and Nickelodeon roles, most famously as a suitor for Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) in the eponymous hit TV series. Butler starred in two episodes of “Hannah Montana,” with his second appearance playing Derek Hanson, Hannah’s blind date in Season 2 Episode 7, titled “My Best Friend’s Boyfriend.”
He additionally had roles in “iCarly” and “Zoey 101,” both of which landed modern-day revival series.
“I look back on the Nickelodeon and Disney shows that I did; even though my skill wasn’t there, I still wanted to give the energy [as if] I was going to make ‘Raging Bull,'” Butler told Backstage magazine. “I kept that fierce dedication toward trying to find more truth, even in things where it could be easier to just phone it in.”
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” alum continued, “I was doing these TV shows that were really fun, and some people really dug them. But I didn’t feel fulfilled as an artist. I just wasn’t being challenged in the way that I wanted to.”
Even Butler’s switch to older teen dramas like “Life Unexpected” and “Switched at Birth” left him feeling “unfulfilled” still.
“When you watch ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and then suddenly you’re doing a CW show, you kind of just…,” Butler added. “As great as those experiences were — and I’m so grateful for them and everybody involved — there was this hunger inside of me.”
Butler summed up,”I’d been off for a couple of years, and I came back to L.A. and thought, I would rather not work as an actor than ever do something I’m not passionate about again. I didn’t work for eight months. When you don’t work as an actor for a while, your mind can go. It made me think, ‘Is this really what I want to do?'”
The “Elvis” Oscar frontrunner previously admitted to being “sort of embarrassed” about his past teen heartthrob roles.
“But I had to cut my teeth somewhere, so I decided to treat each one of these jobs as a way to grow,” Butler said.
The actor credited starring in “Sex and the City” prequel spin-off series “The Carrie Diaries” for inspiring his love of theatre.
“I’d go to 14 plays in two weeks; I was just enamored by it. Actors that I really admired at a young age — thinking of Marlon Brando starting in theater, or Al Pacino — I always knew that there was something in the fact that you’re only as good as you are that night,” Butler told IndieWire. “You get to go back and try it again the next night and dig deeper. [I thought], “I’m terrified of theater. I’m scared to go out there in front of people and not have a second take. But I know that I’ll learn something in that process.”