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Goodbye Norma Jean and the Yellow Brick Road. Hello Hollywood! It’s been about a year and a half since it was announced that Elton John would be producing his own musical biopic, and since then, there hasn’t been much news. Just about the only thing that’s publicly come out is that John wanted Justin Timberlake to play him for the film, which partly came true when Timberlake hosted SNL last week.
J.T. fans will have to wait to see if that wish becomes a reality, but at least the feature, titled Rocketman, has finally found a director, Deadline reports. Michael Gracey, who has directed such music-and-dance friendly commercials as the T-Mobile “Shout” flash mob and the Evian ad where babies roller skate to “”Rapper’s Delight,” is set to put John’s colorful life to film. He’ll be working from a script from Lee Hall, the screenwriter behind Billy Elliot and War Horse. We all know how dance sequences in War Horse were a dime a dozen.
John’s production company Rocket Pictures is producing. “Michael has an innovative, imaginative and compelling vision for the film,” said Steve Hamilton Shaw, CEO of Rocket. “We want to create an experience that surprises and moves audiences and knew immediately that he was the perfect director to take them on this journey.”
Rocketman’s story will follow John’s life from his prodigious childhood through his education at the Royal Academy of Music and all the way up through his universally acclaimed partnership with songwriter Bernie Taupin, which created more hit records than almost anyone else in his era.
This isn’t Gracey’s only feature in the pipeline, since he’s also got the P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman on Earth. At one point he was also the top choice to direct The Muppet Man, a biopic of Muppets creator Jim Henson based on a well-liked script by Christopher Weekes. But because any adaptation of the film would require cooperation from Disney and the Henson Company to use the iconic Muppets, and no such cooperation seems to exist, we can probably assume The Muppet Man isn't happening for now.
And here’s the roller skating baby commercial, for your water drinking pleasure.