CANNES, France – For 29-year-old Taron Egerton, the opportunity to embody Elton John in “Rocketman” has been emotional and exciting in equal measure, the English actor told EFE on Thursday.
Egerton and director David Fletcher both agreed that the movie was a musical that aimed to show audiences the most human and complex side of Elton John, who is, alongside his partner David Furnish, an executive producer of the film.
“I’ve only had 29 years (on this earth), if one and half of them has committed to one film it’s going to feel like a big release, a big relief when the moment arrives and everything comes to fruition,” Egerton told EFE in an interview for the movie’s presentation at the Cannes Film Festival.
“So yes, I was emotional and I’m not particularly embarrassed about showing my emotions. I’m a millennial!” Egerton joked.
The English singer songwriter’s involvement in the movie was an essential part of the creative process, particularly for Egerton, who was able to observe and understand him as a person, Fletcher said.
“The first time I sat down for lunch with him he just said: ‘Ask me whatever you want and I will tell you everything you want to know’,” Fletcher recalled.
“I think that first lunch was four hours long and eventually he had to go and do a show at Ceasar’s palace but I could have sat there forever asking those questions,” the director said.
“He’s always beautifully open, accessible, honest, self-deprecating, witty, charming, great story teller, all the things we needed him to be in order to bring this story to life and to the film,” Fletcher continued.
When asked about how “Rocketman” compared to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a film about the 1907s rock band Queen, he said that the two were radically different and that the latter was a biopic.
“Rocketman” is a musical in which all the actors sing and dance to Elton John classics, from Egerton to Richard Madden, who plays the role of the singer’s agent and lover John Reid.
The entire cast was somewhat anxious about singing and dancing, with Madden saying he was positively terrified.
“They are just different mediums of storytelling I had to learn how to act whilst I was singing and dancing, which was a strange combo for me but a good challenge,” Madden said.
And whilst Egerton also shared some of Madden’s fear, he approached the musical aspect with excitement.
“Yes there was trepidation about singing but the overriding emotion was excitement. I love singing. I love it. I think I love it as much as acting so it’s not like pulling teeth, it was a pleasure to do, I enjoyed the studio time,” he said as Fletcher raised his eyebrows in surprise and nodded.
From the eponymous track that gives the movie its title, to “Your Song,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” “Honky Cat,” and “I’m Still Standing,” most of Elton John’s hits feature at some point throughout the feature film.
The aesthetic is as flamboyant as Elton John himself, with a colorful and fun set design and a camp and over-the-top wardrobe.
For Bryce Dallas Howard, who interprets Elton John’s mother, a key challenge of the performance was the fact they were embodying real people and she wanted to steer clear of one-dimensional interpretations.
“I was inspired about the possibility of being part of telling Elton’s story and Bernie’s story while they are alive, so we can celebrate them,” she added.
The movie, to quote the American actress, is imaginative, brilliant and exciting.