From Bane and Mad Max to Elton John? So it seems.
Variety confirms that Tom Hardy will star as the legendary British entertainer in the long-gestating biopic Rocketman, which Focus Features will distribute. This story has been around for awhile, though parties finally can confirm the casting. Michael Gracey will direct the film, and production is scheduled to start up next fall. They’ll work from a screenplay by War Horse scribe Lee Hall. Said Peter Schlessel, the relatively new CEO at a restructured Focus Features,
“We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by [Rocket Pictures], will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.”
Flamboyance. Charisma. Theatricality. These are all character traits one associates with John … though not necessarily with Hardy, if we’re being honest. The brutal brute of an actor has hammered his way into our hearts by playing hard-hitting characters like Tommy from Warrior and Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, but can you picture this maniac sitting down at a piano to compose “Tiny Dancer?”
The press release announcing the Rocketman casting goes on to praise Hardy’s versatility as a performer, and I’m sure that’s entirely possible. My only concern is that the last time we saw him try to risk and stretch in a lighter vehicle we ended up with This Means War. Hardy, because of his inherent physicality, isn’t as much of a slam-dunk choice as, say, Michael Douglas was to play Liberace in Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra. Still, wondering if Hardy can tap into the soul of an extremely recognizable performer like John will help maintain heat on Rocketman as the production rolls along.
Rocketman reportedly will cover just about the artist’s entire life, dating back to when he was diagnosed as a musical prodigy at age 5. Place your bets on the number of John songs that will be included on the film’s soundtrack, as Sir Elton will be re-recording versions of his classic hits for the purpose of the movie. Hardy, meanwhile, will next be seen in Steven Knight’s Locke, followed by George Miller’s Mad Max prequel film Fury Road, which will hopefully find its way into theaters some time in 2014.