With the release of Baz Luhrmann Elvis fast approaching, many viewers are discovering the talent of Austin Butler for the first time. For avid Disney Channel and Nickelodeon watchers, however, Austin is considered a veteran actor by these dedicated fans.
Lately, Butler has begun to expand his portfolio and grow in his career as a more serious and versatile actor. However, Butler got his start as a comedic and lighthearted actor for many children’s shows and movies, but many failed to remember his small appearances.
Hanna Montana (2006)
Stream on Disney+
Butler appears in the Disney show’s first season as an additional character named Toby who splits with Oliver’s love interest for the episode. However, Austin later returns as Derek Hanson, who is Miley’s cute blind date turned creepy cat.
Austin puts on a hilarious performance for a kids’ show, as he screams and screams when he can’t handle a horror movie. No surprise here that fans never saw him on the show again, though he made a fun and lasting impression during his short stint.
Zoe 101 (2007)
Stream on Paramount+
Just like in Hannah Montana, Austin returned to a larger role on the show as James Garrett, Zoey’s love interest and Logan and Michael’s filler roommate. However, Butler’s first appearance on Nickelodeon’s nostalgic show was as a character named Danifer, Stacey Dillsen’s boyfriend who was mistakenly set up with Zoey by her brother.
However Zoe 101 fans very clearly sent Chase and Zoey together from the very beginning, James stepped in while Chase was away. Although the two didn’t last, many fans fell in love with his character, as he was not only incredibly cute but very likable all around.
Stream on Paramount+
Austin played heartthrob Jake Krandle on the Nickelodeon comedy show as Carly’s crush. He was outspoken about his musical abilities and to win him over, Carly invited him onto their web show to perform.
Unfortunately, they quickly realized that Jake was terrible at singing and they had made a huge mistake. Austin only appeared in this episode, but it was clear the network loved Butler so much that they put him on almost every major show at the time.
Aliens in the Attic (2009)
Rent on Apple TV
While this kids’ movie isn’t exactly an Oscar-winning play, Butler played Jake Pearson, one of the siblings who try to stop the invaders in their attic. The fun and silly film was a good way for Butler to break into the industry, although it was very different from the work he does now.
This film is often forgotten for the sole reason that it did not do very well at the time. Nonetheless, Austin fans now have a wholesome new movie to binge!
Wizards of Waverly Place (2010)
Stream on Disney+
The actor played George on the hit Disney Channel The Wizards of Waverly Place as Alex Russo’s short-lived love interest. Upon realizing that George likes more carefree girls, Alex decides to change her attitude from a sarcastic, sarcastic teenager to an upbeat, energetic cheerleader.
Once she realized it was better not to change for any boy, besides the fact that it was exhausting for her, she stopped worrying about making George happy by pretending to be someone she is not. Austin only appeared for one episode, but much like Nickelodeon, Disney clearly enjoyed working with Butler just as much, as he appeared on several popular Disney shows.
Switched at Birth (2011)
Stream on Hulu
Although this show did quite well while it was on the air, many forget that Austin was the one who played James “Wilke” Wilkerson III. Wilke is a recurring character on the show who was primarily known for being Daphne’s cute and charming love interest.
This role was among the first where Butler really found his niche as a young teenager. While he plays the idol role well, Butler has since proven he can play a multitude of character archetypes.
The Bling Ring (2011)
Stream on Fubo TV
Many moviegoers know the story of the 2014 A24 The bling ring story, but long before that came the Lifetime TV movie about the incident. Austin plays Zack Garvey, a teenager among the group of thieves known to break into celebrity homes in the late 2000s.
The true story is quite gripping, as these teenagers were the first to rise socially in a whole new way, stealing expensive wardrobes and jewelry from the rich and famous. Austin’s character is based on Nick Prugo, one of the main ringleaders of the infamous band.
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure (2011)
Stream on Disney+
In this musical high school spin-off film, Austin plays Sharpay’s upbeat and kind love interest, Peyton Leverett. They join forces as Sharpay navigates the world of New York in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dreams on Broadway.
The two make a rather unexpected but fitting duo, as Sharpay is known to be feisty and authoritative, with Peyton being the complete opposite. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first film Ashley Tisdale and Austin had worked on together, as they had previously starred in Aliens in the attic together and are still close friends to this day.
The Carries Diaries (2013)
Stream on CW Seed
The series derived from sex and the city tells the story of a young Carrie navigating the city and her love for writing. Although Carrie grew up to be a pretty versatile dater, as a young girl she was actually very monogamous, especially when it came to her first love Sebastian Kydd, played by Austin.
Austin became a regular on the CW show, and many fans fell in love with his “good-hearted bad boy” persona. Although the show was canceled after two seasons, it created a cult following and many fans found Austin through this show.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
Rent on Vudu
Although the blockbuster is one of Austin’s most recent and well-known films, the actor is almost unrecognizable playing Tex Watson, a genuinely creepy and terrifying killer and member of the Manson family. Austin didn’t last long in the film, but his brilliant, killer moment at the end of the film really showcases his versatile acting abilities.
His role in this Quentin Tarantino movie stood out to many fans, as he’s usually played a crush ahead of his more serious roles lately. Although viewers were initially unsure what to make of Austin playing Elvis in the upcoming biopic, this recent performance thoroughly proves his abilities and leaves fans more confident than ever in the actor.
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