Many of us probably took piano lessons growing up. Whether you were one of the people who quit as soon as you were able, or you stuck with it until you actually learned to play, I'm not sure anybody really likes piano lessons. Which is why Taron Egerton deserves all of our respect, because he went through a lot of piano lessons in order to play Elton John in Rocketman.
Michael L. Roberts was the man responsible or getting Taron Egerton to play, sing, and perform like Elton John for the movie, and he recently told ScreenRant that Egerton's piano playing practice regime was intense, as it went on for multiple hours a day, five days a week, for a couple of months before filming started. According to Roberts...
It worked out as about two to three hours a day, five days a week, for six to eight weeks in pre-production. And then I was there on set with him every time he was at the piano to to give reminders and help structure each scene.
Taron Egerton didn't do all of his own piano playing in Rocketman, but even then practice was needed. In the places where the actor wasn't playing, he had to learn how to make it look like he was, which also required lessons.
The life of a Hollywood movie star is largely as impressive as it looks, but sometimes you do have to put in long hours doing something a bit less exciting. It's often either something like piano or voice lessons, or spending long hours at the gym for the next big action blockbuster.
Three hours a day, five days a week, for eight weeks, pencils out to 120 hours of practice at the piano, plus whatever else the teacher student did during production. It's certainly not enough to make you an Elton John-level expert, but's a not insubstantial amount of time. And more importantly, it's a lot of time to put in very quickly. Most of us probably wouldn't put in 15 hours a week of practice even in something we truly loved practicing.
While this level of practicing seems brutal to me, Taron Egerton clearly stuck with it. While much of the music we actually hear in Rocketman isn't actually Taron Egerton playing, Michael L. Roberts says that visually, many of the performances that we see, such as Elton's breakout performance of Crocodile Rock at the Troubadour are essentially all him playing the piano.
Whether what we see in Rocketman is the actor actually playing, or just convincingly faking it, the work paid off. Although, it was apparently Matthew Illesley, who played the youngest version of Elton/Reggie, who ended up the best piano player of the lot.
To check out Taron Egerton's performance, you can now check out Rocketman on Blu-ray and Digital.