The actor finally gets to show off his vocal talent on screen.
We need more musicals. Stars like Hugh Jackman, Kristen Bell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Taron Egerton need to sing. Not just for their sake but for the enjoyment of our ears. Most of the time, though, if ever, their talents are shielded behind the mask of an animated character. Bell as Anna in Frozen. Egerton as Johnny the gorilla in Sing.
Fortunately, musical episodes of TV series or shows about theater geeks can woo someone like Paltrow to the small screen, while occasionally Hollywood gets smart and casts Bell in something like Fantasy Camp (also about theater geeks). And then there’s always room for biopics about music icons, such as the Elton John film Rocketman, for a worthy actor with an appropriate voice.
According to Deadline, Egerton is the right match for that project, taking over from the once-cast Tom Hardy. Still mostly known for the Kingsman movies, Egerton wowed a lot of us with his musical performances for Sing. As a gorilla with a secret talent, he sang his own songs, covers of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” The Zombies’ “The Way I Feel Inside,” and, fittingly, Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” He also performed the song “Thrill Me” with Jackman and OMD on the soundtrack for Eddie the Eagle.
Now he’ll give us renditions of many Elton favorites, presumably including “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and of course the eponymous “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time).” It’s unclear how far into the man’s career the movie will go, but maybe we’ll even get another version of “I’m Still Standing.”
Egerton will at least portray John as a young student at the Royal Academy of Music and through the 1970s, if they’re going to match the age of the actor to the singer/songwriter without going further. Much of the movie will apparently also involve John’s partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin, and their collaborations span the last 50 years.
Rocketman will be a celebration of longtime collaborations in other ways too. Egerton is reuniting with Eddie and the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher, who is currently finishing another musical biopic, the Freddie Mercury/Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody. And Rocketman will be produced by Matthew Vaughn, who produced Eddie the Eagle and directed Egerton in both Kingsman: The Secret Service and the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle (both of which also feature Elton John cameos).
Fletcher has also acted in many of Vaughn’s other movies. And, he’s also previously acted in another project produced by Elton John: he voiced one of the gargoyles in the recently released animated sequel Gnomeo and Juliet, which like its predecessor features tons of Elton tunes and even more Elton-related puns. John is now an executive producer on his own biopic, though reportedly Rocketman won’t shy away from depicting his life “stripped back of the glitter.”
The Elton John biopic will have a script by Lee Hall, who wrote the movie Billy Elliot, which he turned into a musical with songs by… you guessed it, Elton John. Previously set to begin shooting in Fall 2014 with director Michael Gracey (who instead gave us the musical The Greatest Showman with Jackman), Rocketman is now scheduled for an August production start.