Though personally selected by Elton himself, and by his husband David Furnish, who also produces the film, the casting of a heterosexual man as a gay icon has earned criticism in some fringe circles for denying queer roles to queer actors.
In a new interview with Attitude, Egerton has answered his critics. “It’s easy for me to sit here as a white, heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want,” he admits. “But I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this is an opportunity for which they would be better suited. The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play him in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay. I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves. I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that.”
Rocketman opens in cinemas May 31.