The Biggest Challenges To Bringing Rocketman To The Big Screen

Taron Egerton's costume in Rocketman

A lot of footage was shown at CinemaCon this year, including but not limited to a Hobbs & Shaw trailer and the first 17 minutes of Toy Story 4. Among that footage was another glimpse at Rocketman, the upcoming Elton John biopic starring Taron Edgerton and led by Dexter Fletcher, who did reshoots on Bohemian Rhapsody recently. When asked at CinemaCon 2019 what the toughest part of bringing a real-life person like Elton John to light on the big screen, Fletcher revealed the musical numbers were often the hardest bits.

It’s not just the musicality that was tough but also getting Elton John right in 141 minutes. Dexter Fletcher said:

Well, Elton’s known for his spectacle and his theatricality and so bringing the music to the big screen was a challenge but also exciting. His fans love him and his music so much that I wanted to be sure they got an honest and truthful portrayal of this man; it’s extremely important to us and to him.

Onstage at CinemaCon 2019 as part of Paramount Pictures’ panel, Taron Egerton joined director Dexter Fletcher onstage, whereupon he was also asked what was the most difficult thing to manage while making Rocketman. Per Egerton:

I think probably managing the pressure. We always felt that we wanted to be irreverent with the role and make sure the audience feels like it’s getting a glimpse behind closed doors, a glimpse behind the scene, and you know a glimpse at the life of a man who’s had a notoriously turbulent time. But we also felt like it was very important to make fans happy and make him likeable. We wanted to tell a raw human story but it’s also so important the movie is fun and a celebration of a great man.

That’s a lot to juggle and it’s not always easy to juggle, as we’ve seen with other musical biopics. First and foremost, directors have to service the story they are telling, which is why last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody changed the timeline narrative a bit. Yet, when that happened people were upset about factual inaccuracies in the movie and how it ultimately played out.

So far, Rocketman has already been in the press for allegedly editing down Elton John’s sex life, as well as nudity related to that sex life. Dexter Fletcher has already addressed the rumors, but it just goes to show that people want a movie that tells the truth but that is also a lot of fun. It’s not an easy feat to achieve.

Luckily, it sounds as if Taron Egerton at least got the spirit of Elton John right. Although the actor mentioned the singer has been pretty “hands off” throughout the whole Rocketman experience, Dexter Fletcher had nothing but praise for the younger actor, who also does his own singing in the movie.

Anything with Taron in it is my favorite. There are many, many great, standout numbers that I’m extremely proud of. We’re all proud of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” is quite extraordinary, “Rocketman” as you know you saw Taron singing on his back at the bottom of a 15 meter tank is something to behold. They’re both very different and both filled with vibrancy and energy.

If you’ve seen the trailer for Rocketman, you should have some idea of what you are getting into with the new movie, which is out on May 31.

In the extended footage we saw at CinemaCon shown on a large screen in Las Vegas, Rocketman looks even bolder and bigger than in the early trailers. If you’ve been a fan of recent musical biopics, this one might even blow those away. It may be my most highly anticipated movie this spring (and yes I’m including Endgame but obviously tastes differ). To see what Rocketman is competing with, take a look at our full movies schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.