Ah, the rock ‘n’ roll biopic: Always walking that fine line between Hollywood respectability, and giving the people the musical debauchery and gritty reality they presumably actually bought their tickets to see. Last year’s Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody came under fire for failing to strike that proper balance in some people’s eyes, with Freddie Mercury fans accusing the picture of downplaying aspects of the Queen rocker’s sexuality in its PG-13 retelling of his life. It sounds like that film’s (eventual, and credited) director, Dexter Fletcher, is going in a bit of a different direction for his next such project, though, the Taron Egerton-starring Elton John bio Rocketman.
This is per The Hollywood Reporter, which quotes sources stating that Fletcher’s movie is headed for a pretty definitive R-rating from the MPAA, at least in part due to scenes of drug use, foul language, and explicit sex between Egerton’s John and his former manager/lover John Reid. (Also: “brief rear nudity.”) There’s also a suggestion that Paramount has asked Fletcher to tone some of this stuff down in the interest of scoring some of that sweet Rhapsody cash, but the director recently issued a tweet denying such allegations, stating that Rocketman “has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in.”
In other words, Rocketman—which various attached parties, including Egerton, have described as less of a straight biopic, and more of a “musical fantasy” based on John’s early career—sounds like the sort of weird, delightfully messy thing that it’s unlikely anyone will be able to accuse of shying away from the artist’s more decadent side. Which, frankly: Bring it on, especially since the first trailer for this movie already looked fantastic. Just be careful with the editing, please, unless you want to get another one of those Oscars everybody ends up making fun of for years.