When it came to heightening the audiences’ senses toward Elton John’s musical numbers in Paramount/Marv’s Rocketman, digital effects came in handy for director Dexter Fletcher.
His summer pic, which is less musical biopic and more musical, stands apart from other rock titles in the subgenre in its authentic Fellini-esque musical number take on Elton John’s life and his career viewed through the lyrics of his songs written by best friend and collaborator Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell).
“We were always determined to have each number have an individual feel to it, and the staging of them was key, when it came to what were trying to achieve emotionally or where the story was going,” said Fletcher at today’s The Contenders London.
One of the most mesmerizing moments in the film is when Taron Egerton as John makes his Los Angeles debut at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. He performs “Crocodile Rock” and gets such a high off the crowd’s response, he floats and they float off the ground in a long slo-mo take with him.
Describing his approach to that seminal moment in John’s career, Fletcher said “it all becomes enraptured in that one moment and everything disappears,” said Fletcher.
While harnesses and contraptions were involved in the scene, Fletcher said that digital effects took sequences to another level, whether it was John floating at the bottom of a pool or walking through a fence and becoming his younger self.
Even though Egerton had full access to John and his diaries in prepping for the role, the actor shared with the crowd that there’s a lot of himself in the performance.
“You bring your own experience of the world and channel that through that person,” said Egerton about his process.
“I can’t lay Elton’s anger and rage, but I can play mine,” added the actor.
“The beauty of the performance is in the honesty of it,” added Fletcher.
Rocketman grossed over $195M worldwide and is now available on DVD and SVOD.