On the heels of the blockbuster success that was the Freddy Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, another musical icon’s story will hit theatres in Australia on May 30.
Described by Paramount Pictures as "an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years," the movie is set to be a big one. Here’s everything you need to know about the movie that follows the life of Elton John.
Who is making the film?
Lee Hall is most famous for writing the 2000 film Billy Elliot , the story of a Northern English boy who, in the face of opposition from his family and community, aspires to be a ballet dancer. This is not the first time Hall and Elton John have collaborated, as the pair joined forces in 2004 to take Billy Elliot to the stage with Elton John writing the music for the musical adaptation. It is no surprise then that Hall has been tasked with bringing John’s own story to life.
Who will play Elton John?
While it could seem that the idea for the film was inspired by the commercial success of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman has actually been in the works since at least 2011.
One reason to why it is only being released now was the difficulty in casting the role of Elton John. Originally, the singer had wanted to be played by Justin Timberlake, however in 2013 the role was awarded to Tom Hardy who eventually pulled out after he struggled with the singing in the film.
In 2018, producers finally landed on welsh actor Taron Egerton. Egerton and director Dexter Fletcher both worked on the movie Kingsman which catapulted Egerton to fame through his portrayal of Gary "Eggsy" Unwin. We have a feeling his performance as John will be worth the wait.
What will it be about?
While the film will chart Elton John’s early years and will focus on his emergence as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music before transforming into a pop superstar, as well as his partnership with songwriter Bernie Taupin, Rocketman shouldn't be thought of as a typical music biopic. In 2012, John called it "a surreal look at my life, and not just a factual look at my life, more in the manner of a Moulin Rouge! ... I just don't want it to be a normal biopic because my life hasn't been like that."
Egerton expanded on John's words when the original release date was announced. "[I]t’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.”
Not confined by realism, we can expect larger than life musical numbers while audiences will be asked to suspend their disbelief in the name of showmanship. We're on board!
Who has been cast?
Actor Jamie Bell is set to join Egerton in the cast as he portrays Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin. Bell actually played Billy Elliot in Lee Hall's original film when he was 13, a role which earned him numerous awards, including a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role and a British Independent Film Award for Best Newcomer.
You may also recognise the actor Richard Madden who will star as John Reid, Elton John's boyfriend and manager in the early '70s. Madden is most famous for his role as Robb Stark in the early seasons of Game Of Thrones. Also joining the cast is Golden Globe nominee Bryce Dallas Howard who will play Sheila Dwight, Elton John's mother as well as Gemma Jones who you may know for her role as Bridget Jones’ cooky mother.
Which songs will we hear?
With the official soundtrack already available on Spotify it is easy to see that this movie will have you singing and dancing along in your seat. With crowd favourites from Elton John himself such as Tiny Dancer, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and Benny and The Jets appearing alongside rock anthems by Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses we can’t wait to embarrass ourselves in the theatre by belting out our favourite tunes along with the actors.
Will Elton John make a cameo?
While there has been no confirmation that Elton John will make a cameo, it is not outside the realm of possibility. In fact, Egerton and the icon have already shared the screen in 2017's Kingsman: The Golden Circle, when the musician did a cameo. Egerton has gone on record saying that he didn’t want Elton John on the set while he was filming stating, “Playing him is intimidating enough. I think [if] he sat at the monitors, that would've been too much. Particularly given the fact that it's a fairly warts-and-all story. I shot a scene where I'm him losing his virginity; I don't really particularly want to do that while the person I'm playing is watching. That would be weird. On many levels.”
Whether or not we get to see Elton make a cameo there is already plenty to be excited about. Described as the world's first R-rated musical, this project seems to be pushing the boundaries in both story and style. Producers haven’t shied away from subjects like John's time in rehab, and will also include same-sex sex scenes.