Rocketman star gets Elton John's seal of approval
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,” says Taron.
"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.”
STARS: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Gemma Jones, Bryce Dallas Howard.
DIRECTOR: Dexter Fletcher
REVIEWER'S LAST WORD: With a soundtrack to die for, this musical biopic will be a crowd pleaser and leading man Taron Egerton manages to outshine his colourful costumes.
Rocketman opens in cinemas on Thursday.