Paramount presented the Elton John biopic Rocketman at The Contenders Los Angeles today. Director Dexter Fletcher and star Taron Egerton were there to speak about representing the singer’s life as a musical set to his catalog. Sir Elton was involved in developing the film and throughout the making of it. Egerton felt the greatest blessing when Sir Elton gave him a very significant gift during their work together.
“He gave me the first ever diamond earring he bought in 1972,” Egerton said. “He gave to me when I was at his house with [husband] David [Furnish] in the drawing room of their lovely house with my girlfriend. Elton was in a robe and just dropped it into the palm of my hand. The way I felt as a result of that, I just knew that this was the most important role I played so far and will probably be up there when I’m reflecting in 40 years.”
Rocketman sees Elton John (Egerton) sing songs like “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting,” “Honky Cat,” “Crocodile Rock” and “Rocketman” within the course of his life. The film also allows him to sing those songs before the real Elton John actually composed them.
“I could use those songs also to span great parts of Elton’s life,” Fletcher said. “‘Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting’ is really useful for looking at a lot of years of his life. We get through a lot of years of his early formative life so having those songs, having that freedom, having that creative choice helped move the film along and fill those gaps. We do the same with “Honky Cat” as well. We use it to talk about, look at a period of Elton’s life.”
Fletcher’s goal was to capture the essence of Elton John rather than the historical chronology of his life.
“I wanted to throw the rules out and see what we got because it’s representative of Elton and who he is and this incredible personality, amazing imagination, incredible music,” Fletcher said. “That’s a big thing to live up to.”
Taking a looser approach to Elton John freed Egerton from direct comparisons to the living legend.
“We set the tone very quickly saying this isn’t the world that you think it is,” Egerton said. “Elton storms into a rehab clinic in six, seven foot neoprene. So we slightly I hope absolve ourselves of responsibility to be completely and factually accurate all the time for me to be mimicking Elton in the hope that what happens is an audience take our hand and come along for the ride.”
Rocketman is now on home video.