From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step
into the sun, there has been news of an Elton John biopic. Some say eat or be
eaten, some say Benny and be Jet, some say stay hard and cast Tom Hardy, but
today Deadline staggers to the cliff and holds aloft a press release from
Paramount for us to genuflect before and gaze upon. Our Rocket Boy has
become a Rocketman, now to be played by Kingsman star Taron Egerton. Oh, it’s the ciiiiiiircle of liiiiife! It’s
the wheeeel of fortuuuuuune! It’s the change in casting that was so
ineeeeevitabllllllle, yet admittedly makes it a little lessssss intriguing!
In development since 2011, with producer Matthew Vaughn recently hiring Bohemian Rhapsody’s Dexter Fletcher to direct, Rocketman still boasts a script from Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall that was previously described as a “musical fantasy”—a “non-linear and hyper-visual” biopic with an emphasis on gaudy spectacle. But, apparently realizing this is Elton John we’re talking about here, the latest incarnation is now being described as more of “an unvarnished rock ‘n’ roll biopic, with John’s life stripped back of the glitter.” At last, perhaps we can do away with the campy costumes and dizzy theatrics and really concentrate on Elton John’s chord arrangements and all the times he felt sad.
Egerton has been publicly angling to play John since at least last year, having met the singer during his brief cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and, more importantly, played a cartoon gorilla who sang “I’m Still Standing.” As Rocketman traces John’s evolution from young piano prodigy to indeterminately aged megastar, Egerton will take on singing all of John’s songs himself, with Deadline reporting that “everyone who has heard him has been gobsmacked by the quality of his voice.” Though your own gobs are, surely, currently slackened with the news that Tom Hardy will no longer tickle the ivories until, shattered and hemorrhaging, they beg for mercy—a mercy that is not forthcoming—you have ample time to prepare them to be smacked anew, as filming doesn’t begin until this summer. It’s the ciiiiiircle of gobs!