Paramount Pictures screened earlier footage of their upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman at The Troubadour, where John made his US debut in 1970, on Monday (18 March) night.
Stars of the film Taron Egerton, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jamie Bell was in attendance for the screening. John’s husband David Furnish introduced them.
Egerton, who takes on the iconic role of John, read a letter from director Dexter Fletcher to the audience.
Fletcher wrote of his joy at getting to make this movie and depict the life of John.
He also noted for die-hard Elton John fans that he knows John didn’t perform Crocodile Rock at the Troubadour. However, it’s the song Egerton’s John performs at the venue in the movie.
Fletcher said he loved the energy of the song for the scene and John gave them ‘artistic license’ to make that change.
A magical and dramatic film worthy of Elton John?
The footage shown was steeped in magical realism, grandeur, musical numbers (yes, this is a full blown musical movie), and many sequins. In other words, it appears to be a movie worthy of Elton John’s legendary career.
Paramount showed snippets of several scenes, including some great moments between Egerton and Richard Madden, who plays John’s former manager and lover John Reid.
They also showed an extended scene of John performing at The Troubadour, from arriving in Hollywood, full of sunshine, palm trees, and a grainy 70s aesthetic.
John’s performing on a Monday night but suddenly gets nervous and hides himself in a bathroom when he hears Neil Diamond and some of the Beach Boys are in the audience.
Egerton embodies the role of Elton John, giving a genuine performance rather than a caricature. Hearing him sing Crocodile Rock in the movie is remarkable and leds an air of authenticity to the role. It’s not hard to understand why the audience, completely unaware of who Elton John is at this point, gets into the music.
Later scenes show the movie tackling John’s struggles with alcohol and drug abuse.
Egerton on depicting Elton John’s sexuality
Egerton spoke to GSN after we all watched the footage. He was enthusiastic and quick to discuss portraying an icon of the LGBTI community.
‘That was one of my first notes,’ Egerton said. ‘There is so much you didn’t see in that footage, some really beautiful scenes between me and Richard [Madden].’
He continued, saying it was ‘important’ to him to fully explore that part of John’s identity in a genuine and authentic way.
Previously, Egerton revealed the gay sex scene with Madden in the film was his first time filming a sex scene. He told GSN he wanted to do ‘justice’ both to John and his identity.
Rocketman hits theaters on 24 May in the UK and 31 May in the US.
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Author: Anya Crittenton