Still winding down from his whirlwind, multi-year, identity-shifting turn in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Austin Butler is ready to sink into some creature comforts. “It’s so beautiful, my goodness,” Butler reports on an idyllic afternoon in Manhattan, months before the heat of summer and the Hollywood strike would set in. When it’s like this, he agrees, “the whole city comes alive.”
In a way, it’s like the actor is becoming reacclimated to his senses, from the olfactory (Butler is the inaugural face of YSL Beauty’s new men’s scent MYSLF, its first brand new fragrance release since 2017) to the auditory (after years of listening almost exclusively to the tunes of Elvis Presley, he’s been really feeling the sound of Chet Baker on vinyl). For this debut edition of GQ Endorses, Austin Butler shares the things he’s really into right now, from his at-home cinema routine to the most important condiment on his refrigerator door.
Optimizing his at-home latte
“I’ve become obsessed with making the perfect cup of coffee at home. I bought one of those La Marzocco espresso makers, and I’ve learned how to steam the milk and weigh the beans. Sometimes I’ll do an iced one in the afternoon or something, but it’s mostly a latte. I use Minor Figures oat milk. Sometimes I’ll use other brands of oat milk, but usually the barista blend because it helps it to froth more. [Laughs] So they tell us.
I noticed I was going out and ordering coffees all the time, and I thought, ‘I just want to be able to wake up in the morning and smell this coffee in my house.’ I love the ritual. I love a craft that you can get better at.”
“I’ve been trying to watch a film every day. One that I’m obsessed with, which I’ve seen before but I just recently [rewatched] last night was a French film called A Prophet, by Jacques Audiard. It’s a wonderful film. I went back and re-watched The Godfather, one and two, the other day. I’ve been watching a lot of crime films. Thief by Michael Mann.
I love a morning movie. You make your coffee and watch a movie in the morning. I’ll watch it with the windows open. It’s a different experience. And then at night, it’s pitch black. We choose films for [different] times of day.”
“I’ve been painting a lot. I recently fell in love with these watercolors by Tom Wesselmann. I was at a friend’s house the other day and he had this beautiful Francis Bacon over his fireplace, and I spent a lot of time just looking at the brush strokes and really obsessing about that. [When I go to museums,] sometimes I’m into the sculptures; other days, it’s really abstract things. I went to this Basquiat exhibit recently and I could [have spent] all day in there. I love his work.”
“It’s kind of nice all day long because when you first spray it on, it’s more bright and you get a lot of the floral off the top. And then it really settles into this subtle warmth. It’s got a little sweetness, but with the woody sort of notes that come through. Some fragrances can be so strong that you only want to wear them during the wintertime or something, but this, it’s got this subtlety to it.”
“I just moved and there’s a wood fire brick oven in the backyard. Something that I love to make there is this cedar plank salmon, because then you get the smell of the wood and the smokiness up in it. Sometimes I keep it simple—just salt and pepper, some lemon. Other days, you get more creative.
[My go-to condiment] is Cholula hot sauce. I just went on [First We Feast’s] Hot Ones recently. That was a whole experience. There’s no Cholula [on Hot Ones], for sure. Now I have all his hot sauces at home. I have some training in the hot sauce world now.”
His incognito travel uniform
“I just did this motorcycle film called The Bike Riders, and so I went out and found these great vintage motorcycle jackets and I have this one Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket that I’ve been obsessed with. When I travel, I like to be comfortable. Sometimes I’ll just wear Adidas track pants. I often wear a hoodie and a hat, because then you feel hidden when you’re walking to the airport.
I’ll read scripts on the plane or read books. I like to watch movies and sometimes just sleep. Sometimes it’s the only place you can get sleep.”
SAG-AFTRA members are currently on strike; as part of the strike, union actors are not promoting their film and TV projects. This interview was conducted prior to the strike.