- Read more: Elton John’s New York leg of his farewell tour is a reflective and stunning tribute to a great artist’s career
Egerton plays John in the film, which follows the icon’s journey from his early days to his partnership with songwriter Bernie Taupin and his breakthrough.
Speaking at a sneak preview of some of the film’s highlights at London’s Abbey Road Studios tonight (March 22), the actor said: “Elton essentially gave me licence to go and make him look ugly at times. The movie begins with Elton marching into rehab in a real bad way. We learn about his life from him recounting his experiences from this recovery room.”
He added: “This movie is primarily a celebration of his life and work – but it’s also a story about someone who’s not well becoming well.”
Director Dexter Fletcher, who worked on Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired, said the film could be described as a “musical fantasy.”
“Elton is our storyteller and it’s his memory of those times – and sometimes our memory plays tricks on us,” he said. “That’s the idea we’re playing with.” He added that John, who is actively involved in the movie as one of its producers, had “always been very honest and open” about his life.
“That’s part of the strength of the film,” Fletcher said. “It’s not self-serving in that way.”
According to the BBC, footage shown at the preview including scenes showing sex parties and drug abuse, as well as ones exploring John’s relationships, including his first marriage to recording engineer Renate Blauel, and his first gay relationship with his former manager John Reid.
Rocketman is due for release on May 24 in the UK and May 31 in the US. It also stars Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Gemma Jones.
Meanwhile, Elton John announced the release of his “cathartic” autobiography earlier this month, in which he promised to share “the truth” about his life. The as-yet-untitled book will be published in October 2019.
The star will begin the first European leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour – his final ever tour – in May. He is due to bring the show to the UK in June when he will perform in Hove and Cardiff.
Elton John’s full confirmed UK dates are as follows:
9 – Hove, 1st Central County Ground
15 – Cardiff, Cardiff City Stadium
4 – London, The O2
6 – London, The O2
7 – London, The O2
9 – Birmingham, Arena Birmingham
11 – Birmingham, Resorts World Arena
13 – Liverpool, Echo Arena
14 – Liverpool, Echo Arena
17 – Manchester, Arena
20 – Aberdeen, TECA
21 – Aberdeen, TECA
24 – Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
25 – Glasgow, The SSE Hydro
28 – Manchester, Arena
30 – Belfast, The SSE Arena
7 – Leeds, First Direct Arena
9 – London, The O2
11 – Liverpool, Echo Arena
16 – London, The O2