Music biopics are all the rage at the moment, with the Freddie Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody picking up an Oscar nomination and a Mötley Crüe movie coming to Netflix.
With Elton John embarking on his farewell world tour, it feels like no better time to take a look back at the music icon’s early career. Here’s everything we know so far about upcoming biopic Rocketman.
- The movie will get its premiere at Cannes Film Festival next month
- The movie will be R-rated
- Second trailer released
When’s it released?
Rocketman will hit cinemas in the UK on 24 May and 31 May in the US. Originally, the film had a slightly earlier release date of 17 May.
Paramount Pictures have now confirmed that the film will get its premiere at next month’s Cannes Film Festival on May 16.
What’s the plot?
The film follows the music icon’s journey as he prepares to release ‘Honky Chateau’, his 1972 breakthrough album that featured the landmark single ‘Rocket Man’. It’s been billed as a “uncensored human story” and a “larger than life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend”.
Actor Taron Egerton has described the film as “the world’s first R-rated musical” and hinted that it won’t be a straight-forward biopic. “Everyone thinks it’s a biopic. It isn’t. It’s a fantasy musical so it’s actually his songs used to express important beats in his life at emotional moments. He’s not the only character that sings. It’s going to be fun,” Egerton told Collider.
Rocketman will also be R-rated, or rated 18, when it’s released. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it will include an “intimate love scene” between Taron Egerton (Elton John) and John’s former manager and lover, John Reid (played by Richard Madden). John’s past drug use will also be depicted.
Responding to rumours that the intimate scene may eventually be cut from the film, director Dexter Fletcher said: “It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in.”
Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good! It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. See for yourself May 24. Dx x
— Dexter Fletcher (@Dexfletch) March 22, 2019
Who is playing Elton?
Welsh star Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Eddie the Eagle) has been confirmed as the lead role in the movie. He had previously covered Elton in the past, taking on ‘I’m Still Standing’ for the 2016 animated film Sing.
Speaking about his role in the film previously, Egerton said: ”I’m going to do it all. I’m going to do it on set as well. We’re going to use a variety of techniques but I will always be singing on set. No miming. I’m just not interested in doing it that way.”
The actor told Jimmy Kimmel that while the singing would be all him, he wasn’t so great with the piano parts:“I made a real effort to learn [piano]. As it turns out, it’s very difficult.”
Meanwhile, John’s husband David Furnish told The Hollywood Reporter that the singer has been “blown away” by the star’s performance so far. Furnish said: “When I played the songs for Elton, he was blown away, really blown away,” he said. “Elton was like, ‘It can’t get any better for me’.
“Elton has told Taron, ‘Don’t copy me. Don’t think you have to sing it exactly the way that I sang it’.”
— Rocketman (@rocketmanmovie) December 28, 2018
Tom Hardy had originally signed on for the role of Sir Elton in 2013 but eventually pulled out after he struggled with the singing element of the film. “I’m not a singer. I have no idea really. I’m really trying because of Rocketman but it’s hard to open my mouth in that way,” he said at the time.
Who else has been cast?
Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell has been confirmed to portray Elton’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, while Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, Black Mirror) will play John’s mother, Sheila Eileen.
Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden has been cast as Elton’s manager John Reid, while Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary) will also reportedly star.
Who is directing?
Dexter Fletcher, who previously worked with Egerton on the Eddie The Eagle biopic, will direct Rocketman. He recently stepped in to take over the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, in place of Bryan Singer.
Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) had previously been linked to the project.
The film was written by Lee Hall (who penned the Billy Elliot screenplay) and produced by Matthew Vaughn (Kingsmen, X-Men) as well as executive producers John and Furnish.
Is there a trailer?
The first Rocketman trailer was released in November. The clip suggests that the film promises to be a life-spanning examination of Elton’s life, including glimpses into his childhood as well as early career.
“There are moments in a rockstar’s life that define who he is”, a voiceover teases. As the one-minute teaser comes to a close, we finally see Egerton performing live as Elton for the first time, delivering a rendition of the iconic titular track.
On 19 February, Paramount Pictures shared a new featurette video showcasing Egerton’s vocal chops.
“Taron is an actor of incredible range,” said director Dexter Fletcher in the video. “Taron is actually singing in the film and he’s so convincing. His voice is incredible.” Music producer Giles Martin added: “Elton said, ‘I don’t think I have heard anyone sing my songs better than Taron’.”
A second trailer was released on February 21. Where the first one focused on Elton’s time in the spotlight, the new video shows moments from his transformation from Reginald Dwight, sitting at home playing piano in his dressing gown, into the flamboyant pop marvel that captured the world’s imagination.
Will there be a soundtrack release?
No official details have been announced of an accompanying OST, but it’s been reported that Egerton has re-recorded many of John’s classics at Abbey Road Studios in London, with John himself involved in these sessions.