In a lengthy article for The Guardian, Elton John has documented the making of the big screen biopic Rocketman.
Regarding John's experience viewing the film, he says, "the whole experience of watching someone else pretend to be you on screen, of seeing things you remember happening again in front of your eyes, is a very weird, disconcerting one, like having an incredibly vivid dream."
John reveals that he fought for the film's R-rating after being pressured about a PG-13 rating. "Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life." "I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company."
In the piece, John also discusses the fight for the fantasy element of the biopic. "Some studios wanted us to lose the fantasy element and make a more straightforward biopic, but that was missing the point." "Like I said, I lived in my own head a lot as a kid. And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn’t seem real to me. I wasn’t an overnight success by any means – I’d been slogging around the clubs, making records, writing songs with Bernie and trying to sell them to people who weren’t interested for four or five years before anything big happened. But when it happened, it went off like a missile: there’s a moment in Rocketman when I’m playing onstage in the Troubadour club in LA and everything in the room starts levitating, me included, and honestly, that’s what it felt like."
With the choice of actor Taron Egerton, John writes, “I gave my diaries to Taron to read when he took on the lead role in the film." He continues, “He came to my house, we had a takeaway curry and chatted, and I let him see them. I knew Taron was the right man when I heard him sing ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.’ I thought it was really important that whoever played me didn’t lip-sync, I wanted them to actually sing the songs, and Taron had already sung ‘I’m Still Standing’ brilliantly in the animated film Sing.”
Rocketman opens in theaters in the U.S. on May 31.
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Article image: Elton John performing on June 3, 2017. (Raph_PH [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)