While cameras don’t start rolling on the Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Kingsman and future Robin Hood star Taron Egerton, for at least a couple more months, the legendary singer is already offering Egerton advice on how to play him.
“Don’t copy me. Don’t think you have to sing it exactly the way that I sang it,” Elton told Egerton, per THR. “Don’t think you have to perform it the way I performed it. I think it’s the challenge for the actor to embody the spirit and not get into thinking they have to do an impersonation.”
Furnish, John’s husband and producer, was with Egerton when he recorded three songs at Abbey Road Studios in London. He says, “When I played the songs for Elton, he was blown away, really blown away,” referring to Egerton’s talent. The young actor already sang an Elton John classic in a film, “I’m Still Standing” in 2016’s animated film Sing. Furnish added, “Elton was like, ‘It can’t get any better for me.’”
Rocketman will primarily focus on the early stages of John’s career in the music industry, beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the 1990s after his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Furnish adds that “the rehab recovery moment was a real watershed moment in his life, and it’s a great way to focus the storytelling around that.”
The Welsh-born Egerton is only 28 years old and already making a big name for himself in Hollywood. His breakout came in 2014 with two films, English spy thriller Kingsman: The Secret Service and World War One true story Testament of Youth. He went on to star opposite Tom Hardy in Legend, about infamous British gangsters Ronnie and Reginald Kray, and played real-life Olympic skier Eddie Edwards in Eddie the Eagle with Hugh Jackman. You can catch Egerton playing the hero of the poor in the forthcoming Leonardo DiCaprio-produced Robin Hood.
The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey is currently attached to the project to direct, with the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Billy Elliot and War Horse, Lee Hall, handling script duties. Furnish, along with Oscar-nominated producer Lawrence Bender of Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction, and Steve Hamilton Shaw, will produce. The film currently has a U.S. distribution deal with Focus Features.
Listen to a 1982 John performance from the Paste Cloud below.