Biopics can be a difficult business. Real life stories can often be the most satisfying, but it isn't always easy when it comes to dealing with the rougher elements of somebody's life. Elton John very much lived a rock and roll life and as such has many of those darker elements in his past. For John Furnish, Elton John's husband, it was especially difficult for him to be on set when the new movie Rocketman was filming some of those rough moments, as he saw the man he loved going through a very tough time. According to Furnish...
Elton John is somebody that I think I know incredibly well, but then also it’s like watching a film about somebody you don’t know at all. The Elton in all that madness is not the Elton I know. At times, he’s a bit of a monster and also, deeply unhappy. That’s hard. Many times as I watched the film, I wanted to go and give him a hug, like I could help him. I thought, ‘God, you’ve been through a lot.’
Elton John and John Furnish have been together for 26 years according to Variety, but that means that the events of Rocketman all, or at least largely, take place prior to Furnish having met the singer/songwriter. One can only imagine how unusual it must be to see the person you love at a time before you knew them. In most cases that person might be largely unrecognizable.
Based on the trailer for Rocketman we see that the film will deal with the way that the singer lived life to excess in the days of his early success. Furnish admits that Elton John is a "monster" to some degree here. Of course, he doesn't see that person now.
From John Furnish's comments one gets the distinct impression that the version of Elton John's story we're going to get in Rocketman is fairly true to life. It's been difficult to tell just how much of the film will be a true biopic and how much will simply be an Elton John rock opera. The movie itself refers to the production as a fantasy, implying the events won't necessarily be based on reality, but perhaps that's not quite the case.
Rocketman comes on the heels of Bohemian Rhapsody, which was partially directed by Dexter Fletcher who also helmed Rocketman. It was a fun time with lots of great music but it told a story that failed to add any depth to it's characters or story. It feels like Rocketman is largely going to take the same approach, but maybe these elements being mentioned here are an indication that there will be a little something more.
We'll find out for certain when Taron Egerton plays Elton John in Rocketman beginning May 31.