JUST ROCK IT, MAN

TARON EGER­TON IN ROCK­ET­MAN BRINGS EL­TON JOHN TO SCREEN

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | SCREENLIFE - WORDS:SEANNACRON­IN

It may seem as though Rock­et­man is rid­ing the mu­si­cal biopic wave cre­ated by the Os­car-win­ning film Bo­hemian Rhap­sody. But this is a dif­fer­ent movie-go­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for one ma­jor rea­son: star Taron Eger­ton sings in his por­trayal of pop cul­ture icon El­ton John.

“He’s so con­vinc­ing and his voice is in­cred­i­ble,” says di­rec­tor Dex­ter Fletcher. “Taron is an ac­tor of in­cred­i­ble range.”

This isn’t the first time movie-go­ers have heard Taron ( Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice) sing an El­ton song.

The Cheshire-born ac­tor, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dra­matic Art, sang I’m Still Stand­ing for his role in 2016’s an­i­mated animal mu­si­cal Sing.

“The thing about play­ing some­one who is so beloved – all we can do is give our heart­felt in­ter­pre­ta­tion of his life and his mu­sic,” Taron says. “El­ton’s songs are the defin­ing mo­ments in peo­ple’s lives. The songs should all come from a place of char­ac­ter.

“It’s been the great­est joy of my pro­fes­sional life mak­ing this film.”

El­ton, 72, was in­volved in the mak­ing of the film as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and at Rock­et­man’s re­cent world pre­miere at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val he was re­port­edly brought to tears by the fi­nal prod­uct.

“El­ton said ‘I don’t think I’ve ever heard any­one sing my songs bet­ter than Taron’ and the great thing about El­ton is that he wants Taron’s in­ter­pre­ta­tions of his songs,” says

mu­sic pro­ducer Giles Martin. “I don’t think there’s any­one in the world who could have played El­ton. It’s Taron’s role.”

Billed as an “epic mu­si­cal fan­tasy”, Rock­et­man tells the story of El­ton’s break­through years.

Fol­low­ing the singer’s jour­ney from a shy pi­ano prodigy, real name Regi­nald Dwight, into an in­ter­na­tional su­per­star, the story is set to El­ton’s most-beloved songs.

An­other stand-out fea­ture of Rock­et­man are the many colour­ful cos­tumes El­ton be­came known for. Cos­tume de­signer Ju­lian Day cer­tainly had his work cut out for him, with more than 50 pairs of shoes and more than 50 sets of glasses fea­tur­ing in the film.

“I have found the process of in­hab­it­ing El­ton John and his wardrobe in­cred­i­bly lib­er­at­ing,” Taron says.

“Ju­lian is def­i­nitely the most bril­liant de­signer I’ve ever worked with. He’s in­cred­i­bly col­lab­o­ra­tive and he un­der­stands the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the cos­tumes and the per­for­mance.”

Rock­et­man also stars Jamie Bell as El­ton’s long-time lyri­cist and writ­ing part­ner Bernie Taupin, Richard Mad­den as El­ton’s first man­ager John Reid, and Bryce Dal­las

Howard as El­ton’s mother Sheila Fare­brother.

El­ton has con­firmed his first of­fi­cial au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Me, due for re­lease in

Oc­to­ber, will fill in the gaps for events which couldn’t be in­cluded in the film.

“There’s so much that’s hap­pened in my life, and it’s hard to fit it all in within the film,” he told The Sun.

Singer Kiki Dee, who per­formed as a back­ing vo­cal­ist for El­ton on sev­eral al­bums and fea­tured on the hit duet Don’t Go Break­ing My Heart, says she’s con­fi­dent the film will do jus­tice to her good friend.

Kiki will be por­trayed by ac­tor Rachel Mul­doon in the biopic.

“From what I hear, the Queen film ( Bo­hemian Rhap­sody) took 10 years to make in to­tal. They had to get it right and they’re go­ing to have to do the same thing with El­ton,” she says. “They will make sure it’s a good film. I’ve got fairly high ex­pec­ta­tions.

I’ll have a girls’ night out and see it and sing along.”

Rock­et­man opens in cin­e­mas on Thurs­day.

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