EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is closing a deal to finance and distribute worldwide Rocketman, a picture package that has Dexter Fletcher directing Taron Egerton in the role of Elton John, through the course of a most iconic life. The film covers the singer/pianist’s growth from a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music to a global superstar, through his influential and enduring musical partnership with his songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin. It is an unvarnished rock ‘n’ roll biopic with John’s life stripped back of the glitter.

The film has a script by Lee Hall. Matthew Vaughn and his Marv Films is producing with Elton John and his Rocket Pictures partner David Furnish. The deal was put together by Wyck Godfrey, president of Paramount Motion Pictures Group. Production is set to start this summer.

Matthew Vaughn Elton John David Furnish
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Egerton, who has not hidden his wish to play this role, will sing the songs himself, and sources said that everyone who has heard him has been gobsmacked by the quality of his voice and its proximity to the subject as Egerton sang numerous of his classics. Vaughn has been a driving force in getting this long gestating picture to the starting line, and the plan is to start production in August. Vaughn and Egerton have been frequent collaborators with Egerton, both in the Vaughn-directed Kingsmen: The Secret Service films, and also as producer of Eddie the Eagle, which Fletcher directed with Egerton starring.

Elton John David Furnish
Elton John, left, and David Furnish
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Fletcher’s association with Vaughn goes back to his days as an actor on Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and the Vaughn-directed Layer Cake. As a director, Fletcher most recently stepped in to replace Bryan Singer as the director of Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Queen front man Freddie Mercury. He also just provided a voice in Sherlock Gnomes, which was produced by Furnish at Rocket Pictures.

John and Furnish are repped by UTA; Egerton by CAA and United Agents, Fletcher by WME and Independent Talent; and Vaughn by WME.