While Austin Butler found early success as a child star on various Disney and Nickelodeon shows, his role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” essentially marked his coming out party as a serious movie star. The Quentin Tarantino film saw Butler playing the fictional Charles Manson associate Tex Watson. While it was a relatively small role, he appeared in two pivotal scenes that paved the way for him to land the coveted titular role in “Elvis.”
Virtually every unknown actor dreams of launching their career in a Tarantino movie, as there are few better ways to ensure that anyone with even a passing interest in cinema will see your performance. And according to Butler, the experience also came with a few very pleasant surprises.
Appearing on the chicken wing-centric talk show “Hot Ones,” Butler explained that Tarantino likes to lead his cast and crew through a unique ritual when he wants to shoot extra takes of a scene.
“I’ve talked a lot about how much Quentin meant to me,” Butler said. “It was always my dream to work with him. We’re on set and he says, ‘OK, we got it. We’re going to do one more. You know why?’ And the entire crew screams, ‘Becase we love making movies!’ And the first time you’re there, you’re not in on it. So Brad, Leo, everybody is like, ‘Because we love making movies!’”
While the image of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio chanting “we love making movies” makes for a delightful anecdote, Butler used it to make a larger point about Tarantino’s joyful approach to filmmaking. While many productions can feel rushed and unpleasant, Butler said that working with a figure like Tarantino can be a reminder of what a fun job he has.
“There are sets that are so sterile,” he said. “There are sets where there is no joy. There are sets where people are just at a job, and you’re trying to create something that you’re going to give to the world. With Quentin, that was so cool because it just changes the atoms in the room. And then the next time that ‘We love making movies!’ happens, you’re in on it. So every crew new member or actor or whomever, suddenly they’re part of the tribe at that point, saying ‘We love making movies!.’”